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Hernandez gets 30 days in isolation

Hernandez AP

On Tuesday, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was involved in an altercation with another inmate in the Bristol County Jail.  On Wednesday, Hernandez landed in isolation for 30 days as a result of the incident.

According to NECN.com, Hernandez will spend 23 hours per day in a cell located in a more restricted area of the facility.  When he leaves the cell, he’ll be required to wear handcuffs and leg shackles.

The problem occurred Tuesday when Hernandez exited his cell without handcuffs and encountered the other inmate, who was wearing handcuffs.

“We’re investigating it now to find out why two inmates would have been out at the same time in that unit,” Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told NECN.com.  “I’m not happy that there may have been a breakdown in our system and our protocols.”

Hernandez, who has been jailed without bail pending trial for the murder of Odin Lloyd, and the other inmate had been taunting each other in the days leading up to the altercation.

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Report: Aaron Hernandez attacks another inmate in jail

Hernandez AP

The fairly significant legal portfolio of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez could be growing by a case.  Or two.

According to TMZ, Hernandez attacked another inmate in the Bristol County Jail on Tuesday.  Per the report, Hernandez “beat the guy up pretty good.”  (Rocky Balboa apparently was reporting from the scene.)

Hernandez normally remains apart from other inmates, ostensibly for his own protection.  It was the other inmate who needed the protection.

TMZ explains that the other inmate had been jawing all day with Hernandez.  And then, coincidentally, the same inmate who was jawing with Hernandez was in a hallway where Hernandez happened to be walking.

It’s funny how thing like that sometimes work out.

Jail officials have not yet confirmed the reported attack by Hernandez, who is imprisoned without bail in connection with the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd.

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Judge imposes gag order in Hernandez case

Judge Garsh issues her ruling denying a prosecutor's motion to recuse herself as judge in the murder trial of former New England Patriots NFL football player Hernandez in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River Reuters

Cases pending in a court of law routinely play out in the court of public opinion.  In criminal cases especially, facts supporting the prosecution’s case can be leaked under the broad cover of “law enforcement sources.”

In the murder case pending against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, the door has been slammed on any further leaks.

On Friday, Judge Susan Garsh issues a so-called “gag order,” which requires both sides to take “reasonable precautions” to prevent prejudicial disclosures.  The order also requires prosecutors to investigate any reported leaks.

Via the Boston Globe, the order provides in part that “[n]one of the lawyers appearing in this case or any person with supervisory authority over them shall release or authorize the release of information about this proceeding that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by any means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing potential trial jurors or witnesses or will have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”

That’s a long, convoluted standard with plenty of nooks and crannies, for both sides.  The prohibition on the release of information “that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated” publicly if the lawyer “knows or reasonably should know” that the information will have a “substantial likelihood” of swaying jurors or increasing “condemnation” of Hernandez ultimately can be more of a sword for the defense than a shield for the prosecution, because terms like “reasonable person” and “reasonably should know” and “substantial likelihood” ultimately will be assessed by Judge Garsh.  Given that the prosecution at one point tried to have Judge Garsh removed from the Hernandez litigation due to alleged bias against prosecutors in a past case, the prosecution likely will try to avoid any situation in which she would have the ability to conclude that this complex standard was violated.

Which means that the prosecution should stay as far away from the line as possible, providing no information to the media. Moving forward, the media will get its information on the case from the court filings and the courtroom proceedings, like the media does in virtually every other criminal case.

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Hernandez’s barber could be a key witness in Lloyd murder case

Hernandez AP

With prosecutors concluding that Carlos Ortiz won’t be a credible source of evidence and few if any in former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s inner circle cooperating, it could be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd last June.

As explained by FOX 25 in Boston, that could make Hernandez’s barber a central figure in the eventual trial.

Robby Olivares has testified before the grand jury that indicted Hernandez, identifying the apartment Hernandez maintained in addition to his large home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Per FOX 25, Olivares may have information regarding the events of June 14 at the Rumor nightclub in Boston, where something said or done by Lloyd allegedly prompted Hernandez to conclude Lloyd needed to be silenced.

Olivares visited Hernandez’s home and cut his hair two days before Hernandez was arrested for murdering Lloyd.  While details remain scant, Olivares could emerge as someone who knows things about the murder — and who may be willing to share that information in court.

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Judge blocks prosecution’s attempt to get Hernandez’s jailhouse conversations

Hernandez AP

The murder case against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez could be crumbling.

With prosecutors already deciding to punt on supposed star witness Carlos Ortiz, a judge has now blocked an attempt to obtain recordings of Hernandez’s conversations from jail.

According to the Associated Press, the judge said the prosecution didn’t make a sufficient case to obtain the communications, which allegedly contain “coded messages” regarding Lloyd’s murder.  Defense counsel call it a fishing expedition.

It’s a bit of a surprise — given the whole “anything you say can and will be used against you” thing — that Hernandez has any privacy at all regarding things he has said in jail.

Is it a fishing expedition?  Sure.  Should the prosecutors be entitled to fish if the end result is pursuing justice for Odin Lloyd?  Hell, yes.

Ultimately, Hernandez is protected by the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  If Hernandez has said anything in custody that helps remove the doubt, prosecutors should be entitled to use it.

But they can’t use it until they know it exists.  They should be allowed to find out whether it exists.

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Man allegedly shot by Hernandez gets shot again

Bradley AP

Tony Soprano.  Walter White.  Aaron Hernandez.

Guilty or innocent of murder and other alleged misdeeds, Hernandez could be the anti-hero of a compelling TV series in which ancillary cast members routinely gets involved in various predicaments.  Like shootings.

The latest twist involves a man Hernandez allegedly shot in Florida last year.  Via the Associated Press, Alexander Bradley was shot multiple times in the right thigh on Sunday night in Hartford, Connecticut.  Bradley then allegedly returned fire outside the Vevo Lounge Bar & Grill.

“Evidence revealed there was a disturbance in the club that was pushed outside by staff,” Lt. Brian Foley said, via the AP.  “At this point, Bradley was shot.  Bradley went to a vehicle, got a gun, then shot up the front of the club.”

Some will suspect that Bradley was targeted by associates of Hernandez, given that Bradley has sued Hernandez for the shooting that happened last year — and that Hernandez has performed the legal equivalent of crying “uncle” by invoking the Fifth Amendment in response to the suit.  If Bradley isn’t, you know, alive, he can’t testify against Hernandez in that case, or in any others.

For now, Bradley is expected to survive.  It’ll be interesting to see what he says about who shot him this time.  If he’s willing to say anything about it at all.

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Prosecutors give up on Carlos Ortiz as witness against Hernandez

Ortiz AP

The case against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez may not be as strong as once believed.

Carlos Ortiz, once believed to be the star witness against Hernandez in the murder of Odin Lloyd based on the extent to which information apparently obtained from him was used to support search warrants and arrest warrants, will now not be called as a witness at all.  Via the Taunton (Mass.) Daily Gazette, paperwork filed Friday in court indicates that prosecutors view Ortiz as “completely unreliable” based on the fact that his once-damning story has dramatically changed.

As a result, prosecutors could now be attempting the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.

Via the Associated Press, prosecutors want to review Hernandez’s phone conversations in search of “coded messages” that could show Hernandez was talking about the murder of Odin Lloyd with his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, and/or his cousin, Tanya Singleton.

Prosecutors contend Hernandez discussed Lloyd’s murder in cryptic fashion.  Topics allegedly included Hernandez’s “belief about his criminal liability” and the “extent of his control over persons charged as accessories.”

Even if that’s what happened, it could be a challenge to use “I took care of that thing”-style remarks to show guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  But that may be all they have, if neither Ortiz nor Ernest Wallace, the two men allegedly in the car with Hernandez and Lloyd before Lloyd was shot to death, will be testifying against Hernandez.

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Hernandez can’t watch Pats in jail

aaron-hernandez-getty-t Getty Images

As the Patriots prepare to finish their first season since 2010 without tight end Aaron Hernandez by playing in the AFC title game, the accused murderer (and suspect in two other killings) won’t be permitted to spectate.

He’s not allowed to watch any TV,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said Friday, via the Associated Press.  “As far as finding it out, if they hear an officer talking about it, they might find out that way.  He could probably hear about it if some other inmate were to call home and he were to yell out.”

Hernandez remains in a “special management” classification, which keeps him in his cell 21 hours per day.  When he’s not in his cell, Hernandez can’t interact with other inmates.

The Patriots have adapted very well to the absence of Hernandez, who was with the team throughout offseason workouts.  His arrest came in the middle of June, after the voluntary program ended.

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Search warrant confirms Hernandez is a suspect in July 2012 murders

Hernandez AP

Not long after former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez found himself accused of killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013, Hernandez’s name surfaced in connection with an unsolved double murder from eleven months earlier.

If it wasn’t already clear that Hernandez is a suspect in the shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu (and it should have been), it now is.  Via the Associated Press, a search warrant released Thursday confirms that Hernandez is the suspected shooter.

The warrant and accompanying affidavit initially were executed on June 28, less than two weeks after Lloyd was killed in an industrial park close to Hernandez’s home in Massachusetts.

Another recently-released warrant suggests that Hernandez may have killed Lloyd to prevent him from spilling the beans on Hernandez’s involvement in the July 2012 shootings.

Hernandez has been held without bail since June on charges of murdering Lloyd.  No trial date has been set.

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Warrant suggests Hernandez killed Lloyd to cover up double murder

Hernandez Reuters

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez continues to await trial on charges that he murdered Odin Lloyd in June 2013.  And he continues to be a suspect in a double murder that occurred 11 months earlier.

According to the Hartford Courant and other publications, a search warrant executed in connection with the July 2012 murders of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado reconfirms that Hernandez is a suspect in the case.

The warrant explains that Sharif Hashem, a security supervisor at a Boston night club, advised police that the murders of Lloyd and Abreu/Furtado could be related, and that a patron of the club “accidentally spilled the beans in front of me.”

Lloyd and Hernandez attended the club in question two days before Lloyd was killed.

The information supplies a clear motive for Hernandez’s alleged killing of Lloyd.  If Hernandez feared Lloyd would “spill the beans” on Hernandez, Hernandez had a reason (warped and misguided as it may have been) to permanently silence Lloyd.

If it can be proven that Hernandez killed Lloyd to prevent Lloyd from giving evidence and testimony against Hernandez in the prior murders, the federal government could get involved — and the death penalty could be in play.

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Odin Lloyd’s family files wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez

Hernandez AP

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has enough legal entanglements to keep a mid-size law firm fully employed.  He’s now got another one.

According to the Fall River (Mass.) Herald News, the family of Odin Lloyd has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez.  Lloyd allegedly was killed by Hernandez in June 2013.

While Hernandez enjoys constitutional protections like the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to the question of whether he’ll be imprisoned for most if not all of the rest of his life for killing Lloyd, civil cases turn on the much lower legal standard known as “preponderance of the evidence.”

A generation ago, O.J. Simpson walked away from murder charges but found himself liable for a $33.5 million civil verdict.  Hernandez could see the same outcome, with an acquittal in criminal court and an eight-figure judgment in civil court.

The question now will be the timing of the civil litigation.  In most situations, the lawsuit will be put on hold until after the criminal case ends, since at that point the defendant wouldn’t be able to rely on the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.  In this case, there may be no money left by the time a jury decides Hernandez’s fate.

Hernandez surely still has ample assets, and he’s seeking $3.25 million in earned but unpaid signing bonus from the Patriots and another $2.96 million in guaranteed pay from the team.  Lloyd’s family — along with the families of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado — should move aggressively on all of Hernandez’s available property before the money ends up being consumed by his legal bills.

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Prosecutors allege Hernandez’s fiancee lied 29 times to grand jury

Jenkins AP

Shayanna Jenkins, the girlfriend of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, faces charges of lying to a grand jury investigating the murder of Odin Lloyd.

According to prosecutors, Jenkins lied 29 times.

Via the Boston Globe, prosecutors outlined the various alleged falsehoods in court papers filed in connection with the case.  The alleged untruths include lies regarding conversations with Hernandez on June 18, when he allegedly called from his lawyer’s office and told her to remove items from the house.

She also allegedly lied about why she removed the things, about her lack of knowledge as to what the objects were, and about how she got rid of the objects.

With 29 different swings of the proverbial bat, the prosecution needs to connect only once to get a conviction.  The overriding goal could be to get Hernandez to strike a deal in order to protect the mother of his young child.

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Hernandez invokes Fifth Amendment in Florida shooting case

Hernandez AP

One of Aaron Hernandez’s various legal complications has become somewhat more complicated for the former Patriots tight end.

As explained earlier this week by Wesley Lowery of the Boston Globe, Hernandez has relied on his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination in the civil suit that claims he shot a friend in the face in February 2013.

The use of the Fifth Amendment comes in Hernandez’s formal written response to the civil complaint.  Per Lowery, Hernandez uses the following sentence 13 times:  “Defendant asserts his rights under the Fifth Amendment and, therefore, declines to respond to the allegations.”

Unlike a criminal case, where juries are told that silence cannot be used against a defendant, folks who refuse to testify in a civil case do so at their own financial peril.  If/when the case filed by Alexander Bradley goes to trial, the jury likely will be told that it can draw an adverse inference from Hernandez’s refusal to testify.

In other words, the jury will be entitled to conclude that, by declining to say anything about the situation, Hernandez must have done something.  Combined with the 51-49 “preponderance of the evidence” standard for civil cases, Bradley loses the case only if the jury finds his story to be so incredible that it overcomes Hernandez’s refusal to say, “I didn’t do it.”

The bigger challenge for Bradley will be getting compensated.  Hernandez’s money currently is being devoted to the defense against pending murder charges in Massachusetts, with another potential double-murder charge still lingering.

Bradley may end up having to rely on trying to get his hands on the earned but unpaid bonus money from the Patriots.  But Bradley may have to box out the families of up to three murder victims in order to receive compensation for being shot in the head by the man who currently refuses to say that he didn’t do it.

Hernandez’s willingness to throw in the towel on the civil suit suggests that he legitimately fears prosecution for the shooting in Florida.  As he should.  Especially if he isn’t able or willing to say, “I didn’t do it.”

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Mike Pouncey hasn’t testified in Massachusetts, yet

Pouncey AP

Nearly three weeks ago, Dolphins center Mike Pouncey received a post-game subpoena following a loss to the Patriots.  It was a command to appear before a grand jury reportedly investigating the involvement of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in the trafficking of illegal weapons.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Pouncey has not yet testified.

It’s unclear when he’ll appear before the grand jury for the purposes of answering questions under oath.  It’s also unknown whether he is viewed as a target of potential charges.

What is known is that, between the Hernandez situation and the ongoing Jonathan Martin controversy, Pouncey has plenty of things on his plate right now — none of which are all that appetizing.

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Report: Authorities are looking at Mike Pouncey as more than a witness

Mike+Pouncey+g0hwub0Gbh9m Getty Images

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey apparently is more than a mere witness in the ever-growing case(s) against Aaron Hernandez.

Greg Bedard of SI.com, who with Pete Thamel reported on Sunday that Pouncey has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating Hernandez, gave a more dire assessment to Pouncey’s potential predicament during a Monday morning appearance on WQAM’s The Joe Rose Show.

“Overall, I would say this is a serious situation for Mike Pouncey,” Bedard said.  “This is not a situation where they just think he might have evidence towards the charges against Aaron Hernandez.  If he goes in there [to testify before the grand jury] thinking that’s what it’s about, he will be underprepared.  He should be prepared that the authorities are looking at him in regards to some charges.”

It’s not clear what the charges would or could be, but Bedard at one point made reference to the issue of finances.  Bedard also said that Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (Mike’s twin) could be summoned to testify at some point, too.

With one murder case pending against Hernandez and a double-murder case possible, authorities reportedly are exploring whether Hernadnez was engaged in the illegal trafficking of weapons.  That detour from the murder charges has the feel of an effort to ensure that there will be a way to put an actual or perceived “bad guy” away, in the event the murder charge(s) don’t stick.

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