Judge tosses cameraman from ex-NFL star's murder trial

Thu Apr 9, 2015 4:30pm EDT
 
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By Scott Malone

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - The judge in former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez's murder trial on Thursday barred a local television cameraman from the trial after he drove a truck that followed a bus full of jurors, saying the incident could have led to a mistrial.

The jury deliberated for a third day without reaching a verdict on whether Hernandez, 25, is guilty of murdering an associate, in the first of two murder trials he faces this year.

After the jury in Fall River, Massachusetts, determines whether he killed semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd, Hernandez will face a trial in Boston on charges of fatally shooting two Cape Verdean men outside a nightclub in 2012.

Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said two of the 15 jurors reported they had been followed by a truck from WHDH television, an NBC affiliate, and summoned the cameraman who had driven the truck, Robert Cusanelli, to court.

The cameraman said he had made no effort to interact with any of the jurors.

"I know that's forbidden," said Cusanelli.

Garsh said she would ban him from covering the rest of the trial but held off on an earlier threat to eject the station.

"I am not going to further sanction WHDH as an entity," Garsh said, after warning that it was legally required that no juror be approached, and if one was, it could lead to a mistrial.   Continued...

 
Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez sits after lunch break in the courtroom of the Bristol County Superior Court House in Fall River, Massachusetts April 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Faith Ninivaggigi