A judge has denied prosecutors’ request to alter a gag order in the Aaron Hernandez murder case. The ex-NFL player is currently on trial for allegedly killing semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh, who is presiding over the trial, issued the gag order last month. The order declared that neither the defense, nor the prosecution, would be allowed to leak information.
“None 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,’’ Garsh stated in the gag order.
The prosecution debated the validity of the order, claiming there was no proof it was responsible for any leaks. District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter had requested that the order be changed, telling WADT-FM radio in February that he has never seen such an order in his 30 years of practicing law.
“The order was imposed in the absence of any suggestion whatsoever that the chief evil against which it is aimed was likely to occur; namely, that any member of the prosecution or defense teams would make any extrajudicial statements that prejudiced the defendant’s right to a fair trial,’’ said Assistant District Attorney Roger L. Michel Jr., via Boston.com.
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Even before prosecutors were restricted from discussing certain aspects of the case, they had developed issues with the judge. The district attorney’s office previously attempted to have Garsh removed from the case, though they were unsuccessful.