Judge in murder case of ex-NFL star considers gag order

Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:32am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A Massachusetts judge said on Monday she would consider a request by lawyers defending former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez that she issue a gag order preventing leaks about the high-profile murder case.

Judge Susan Garsh asked attorneys to submit proposed media guidelines after an attorney for Hernandez complained about "prejudicial" reports that had surfaced in the press quoting unnamed law enforcement officials.

Hernandez, 24, was charged in the fatal shooting of his friend, Odin Lloyd, in an industrial area near his home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

The former New England Patriots tight end, who had a $41 million contract when he was arrested, pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons-related charges and is being held in Bristol County Jail while awaiting trial. A handcuffed Hernandez was led into the Fall River Superior Court hearing on Monday.

Prosecutors denied the accusation that law enforcement officials were guilty of leaking information about the case to the press.

"Their suggestion that we have moles out there leaking information is factually not true," Assistant District Attorney William McCauley said. "We are playing fair."

The arguments came after the judge declined to issue a gag order in October prohibiting lawyers involved in the case from speaking about it publicly.

But she reminded prosecutors and defense attorneys at the time that Massachusetts trial rules still placed significant limits on their public statements about an ongoing criminal proceeding.   Continued...

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez mouths words with family members after he appeared in court at the Fall River Justice Center in Fall River, Massachusetts December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Stone