keeps ex-NFL star Hernandez's jail calls off limits
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[February 08, 2014]
By Daniel Lovering
FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) — A
Massachusetts judge on Friday denied a request by prosecutors for
recordings of phone calls made from prison by former National Football
League star Aaron Hernandez, who is awaiting trial on a 2013 murder.
Prosecutors had sought the recordings along with Hernandez's
visitor records from the Bristol County Sheriff's Department, saying
they contained conversations related to the killing of Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez, 24, has been in jail since June, awaiting trial on murder
charges in the death of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose
bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's
home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
Formerly a star New England Patriots tight end with a $41 million
contract, Hernandez was dropped from the team within hours of his
arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to Lloyd's murder.
On Friday, defense attorney James Sultan said a motion by
prosecutors filed at Fall River Superior Court last week was
"grossly over-broad," because it called for records of every phone
call Hernandez had made since he entered jail, not just those
pertaining to the case.
"This is nothing but a fishing expedition," he said. "If this is
what they say they need to try the case, one wonders about all the
representations they're making in court."
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In court documents, prosecutors said the sheriff's department had
already provided "the contents of some of the defendant's telephone
They said Hernandez discussed matters "directly relevant to the
circumstances surrounding the murder of Odin Lloyd," and used "coded
messages" to communicate with people outside of jail.
In a heated exchange with prosecutors, Judge Susan Garsh denied the
motion saying it was not supported by an affidavit and that the
recordings could only be considered hearsay.
Prosecutor William McCauley declined to comment on whether he would
file another request for the recordings.
Before the hearing, Hernandez smiled and laughed as he talked with
his attorneys. At one point he turned and mouthed the words "I love
you," to family members sitting in the courtroom.
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by G Crosse)
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