BOSTON (Reuters) – Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who was found guilty last year of killing an acquaintance, has hired new lawyers, including the man who successfully defended a Florida woman accused of murdering her daughter, to represent him in his upcoming double-murder trial.
Florida lawyer Jose Baez, known for successfully defending Casey Anthony in her high-profile 2011 trial, and Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan will represent the former National Football League player when he faces charges of shooting dead two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.
Hernandez, 26, was a star tight end with a $41 million contract when he was arrested in June 2013 and charged with murdering Odin Lloyd at an industrial park near his suburban Boston home. He is serving a life sentence for that crime.
He is awaiting trial on separate charges that he fatally shot two men, Cape Verde nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, outside a Boston nightclub after one of them unwittingly spilled a drink on him.
“Hernandez strongly maintains his innocence, and I plan to establish that before a jury of his peers,” Baez said in a statement.”We understand that numerous reports of our client’s alleged activity have been published, but we ask the public to afford Mr. Hernandez the presumption of innocence and let the facts unfold in a court of law.”
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)