Patriots: Team owes Aaron Hernandez nothing
BOSTON (AP) — The New England Patriots don’t owe “another penny” to former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is charged in three killings, a team lawyer told a judge Wednesday.
Attorney Andrew Phelan said the team terminated its contract with Hernandez right after he was charged last year in the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
Phelan’s remarks came during a hearing in wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of two Boston men prosecutors say were also killed by Hernandez.
The families’ lawyer, William Kennedy, asked for an order barring the Patriots from paying Hernandez a $3.25 million signing bonus if the team is ever ordered to do so by an arbitrator. According to the lawsuit filed by Kennedy, Hernandez has filed a grievance seeking the money, plus $82,000 owed to him by the team.
But Judge Bonnie McLeod said the team is already subject to a similar order in the Lloyd case and accepted a signed stipulation from the Patriots.
Kennedy also wants the court to freeze Hernandez’s assets. Each of the lawsuits is seeking $6 million in damages.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in all three slayings.
His attorney in the wrongful death lawsuits, John Fitzpatrick, said in court papers that the attempt to prevent the team from paying Hernandez is “fundamentally unfair” because Hernandez needs the money to pay for his defense in the three killings and the civil cases.
Depriving Hernandez access to his earnings “would impair his state and federal constitutional rights to counsel and to due process,” the response said.
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