After spending nearly a year behind bars and dealing with an ever-growing list of legal issues, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez apparently is running out of cash.
As first reported by Kevin Vaughn of FOX Sports, Hernandez is having trouble paying his lawyers. Two of the men who appeared at this week’s arraignment on double murder charges, Charles Rankin and James Sultan, filed court documents indicating they may no longer be representing Hernandez.
Rankin and Sullivan, along with Michael Fee, have served as Hernandez’s primary counsel. Fee has not filed a similar motion.
On one hand, something doesn’t feel right about lawyers bleeding a millionaire dry and then cutting him lose when he’s out of money. On the other hand, lawyers will end up being out of money if they work for free.
Complicating matters is that Hernandez has been unable to sell his house in North Attleboro, due to the wrongful-death civil lawsuits filed by his three alleged victims. The home, purchased by Hernandez for $1.3 million in November 2012, could eventually be sold to provide compensation to the families.
Hernandez also could see an infusion of $3.25 million. That’s the remaining installment of his 2012 signing bonus, which the Patriots refused to pay in March 2014. While the labor deal gives teams the ability to recover signing bonus money when a player becomes incarcerated, the Patriots chose to quickly cut ties with Hernandez, arguably forfeiting their ability to keep the $3.25 million or to pursue other money from Hernandez.
On Friday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft refused to elaborate on the situation during an event at Gillette Stadium.
“When he was arrested, we cut him from the team, I was very clear about it,” Kraft said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “You can go back and read what I said then. That’s the way I feel, and will continuously feel.”
Feelings of being “duped” may not be enough to allow Kraft and the Patriots to keep their $3.25 million. The only good news for the team is that, if/when the money is paid, Hernandez will likely never actually get any of it, not with three wrongful-death lawsuits and at least three lawyers who have been spending a lot of time working on his various cases.