Hernandez lawyers fight to bar jail calls from murder trial
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) The judge overseeing the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez said Wednesday that prosecutors are about a week away from resting their case against the former New England Patriots star tight end.
Testimony in the case began Jan. 29. Hernandez is accused in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
There was no testimony Wednesday, and Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh instead heard from prosecutors and Hernandez's lawyers about pending issues in the case - among them, the testimony of Alexander Bradley, a former Hernandez friend. Bradley has sued Hernandez, saying he got into an argument with Hernandez after leaving a Florida strip club in February 2013 and was shot between the eyes and dumped in an industrial area.
Garsh has ruled Bradley can't testify about the Florida shooting, but she said he will be able to take the stand after she questions him outside the jury's hearing. The lawyers and judge indicated he could be called next week.
The judge also said that, because of a juror issue, there might be no testimony Monday and Tuesday.
Garsh also said she'll allow some jailhouse phone calls made by Hernandez and others connected to the case over the objections of his defense team. The calls include conversations he had with his fiancee, his college teammate and Miami Dolphins player Mike Pouncey and others.
Hernandez lawyer Michael Fee argued that the conversations were irrelevant and were being used ''to bolster a foundering case.''
But prosecutor Patrick Bomberg said the conversations showed Hernandez working to cover up the crime. In them, Hernandez cousin Tanya Singleton says she won't talk to the authorities.
Singleton is accused of helping one of his co-defendants, Ernest Wallace, flee to Georgia. She spent seven months behind bars for failing to testify before the grand jury, even as she suffered from terminal cancer.
In one conversation, Hernandez tells Singleton that he has set up trust funds for her two sons with $75,000 or $100,000 each.
Fee said Hernandez never put the money in trust. Bomberg said he misled her so she wouldn't talk.
Garsh didn't immediately say which calls could be used.
Prosecutors said they don't plan to use the calls with Pouncey, during which the two discuss missing Wallace and talk about how Wallace was in jail with one of the nation's most famous fugitives, Boston mobster James ''Whitey'' Bulger.