At 1:45 p.m. ET, Patriots coach Bill Belichick will meet the media. At 2:00 p.m. ET, the probable cause hearing in the murder case against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will commence.
It’s unlikely that there will be any overlap, especially since it appears based on past proceedings that the clocks in the Bristol County Courthouse have not yet been moved forward to daylight savings time. It’s also unlikely that much will be disclosed at the Hernandez hearing.
As explained by Albert Breer of NFL Network, an effort to convince a judge that probable cause exists to bind Hernandez over to trial is irrelevant. A grand jury currently is investigating the murder of Odin Lloyd, applying the same standard.
As a result, Breer reports that prosecutors are likely to seek a 30-day continuance of the probable cause hearing, which will give the grand jury more time to do its work. Hernandez’s lawyers may object, since they possibly prefer the ability to conduct a pre-trial cross-examination of any witnesses who are called to testify against Hernandez.
There’s one potential benefit to prosecutors from proceeding with the probable cause hearing today. If they are confident that Carlos Ortiz will testify against Hernandez at the probable-cause hearing but nervous about whether Ortiz will testify at trial, preserving his testimony today — with Hernandez’s lawyers having a right to confront Ortiz — could provide a valuable insurance policy in a case that doesn’t have much direct evidence of Hernandez’s guilty.
And if Hernandez’s lawyers simply expect that a continuance will be sought, they may not be as prepared to grill Ortiz as they otherwise would be.
It would still be a risky move by the prosecutors, but it possibly would entail less risk than hoping that Ortiz, if he’s currently willing to testify, will remain willing to testify in the future. Or, you know, alive.