An odd wrinkle emerged last week as the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial moved toward closing arguments. Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, told the presiding judge that coach Bill Belichick had been subpoenaed to testify, but that he wasn’t in court to testify.
And that was that. The process didn’t stop while Belichick was tracked down and brought to court, and there was no indication that the judge was miffed — even though judges typically get that way when people fail to abide by directives to show up in court.
As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports explains it, the issue came up on Thursday because Belichick’s lawyer called the court Wednesday to determine if there would be any “consequences” arising from Belichick’s failure to appear. Baez explained that, due to difficulties in getting to Belichick because of the community where he lives, Belichick had less than 24 hours notice to appear. So Baez said he “made a strategic decision to release [Belichick] from service.”
It may have been different if Belichick were regarded as a key witness.
“It was toward the end of the trial, I believe it was the last day, we didn’t think his testimony was critical to the defense so we released him,” Baez said.
The jury continues to deliberate whether Hernandez killed Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu in a July 2012 drive-by shooting. The jurors will return to court on Friday for a half-day of deliberations.