Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers said they are in discussions with the late NFL star’s ex-agents following a Massachusetts' court ruling to vacate his murder conviction Tuesday.
Hernandez, who was convicted in 2015 for the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, hanged himself in his jail cell in a Massachusetts maximum-security prison on April 10. Because Hernandez died before his automatic appeals could be exhausted, his convictions for the murder and two lesser gun charges were vacated due to a little-known state law known as the "Abatement Doctrine."
Jose Baez, Hernandez’s lawyer, told TMZ he wasn’t sure how the abatement would affect Hernandez’s contract or NFL pension.
“How the NFL treats him from this point forward remains to be seen. We’re in discussions with his agents to see where he stands,” he said to TMZ Tuesday.
Baez said the Hernandez family had no immediate plans to go after pay and bonuses from the $40 million contract Hernandez had with the Patriots at the time of his arrest in 2013, but said they were “certainly willing and capable of doing that” should the time come.
Baez also dismissed rumors that Hernandez had committed suicide for financial gain for his family.
“I have no indication from any conversations with Aaron or any conversation anyone has had with Aaron that we’ve investigated that makes that true," he said. “I think that’s such a long shot of a theory that I don’t give it any shred of credibility at this point.”
Hernandez' suicide came less than a week after he was acquitted of a separate 2012 double murder and reports speculated the ex-NFL star could have been trying to exploit Massachusetts laws to earn innocence after his death and secure financial stability for his 4-year-old daughter and fiancé.
In a letter left for his fiancé, Shyanna Jenkins Hernandez, Hernandez said she was “rich.” Recent court filings have indicated Hernandez’s estate is broke.
Jenkins Hernandez has been largely silent since her fiance's death, but she will break that silence next week in an appearance on Dr. Phil.
In the two-part episode that will run Monday, May 15 and Tuesday, May 16, Dr. Phil McGraw will address the circumstances surrounding Hernandez's suicide.
“Did he kill himself so that you could collect $6.5 million?” McGraw asks, according to a statement released Wednesday by the daytime talk show.
It's unclear from the statement where McGraw came up with the $6.5 million figure or what Jenkins Hernandez's direct answer is.
But according to the release on the yet-to-be-aired episode, she does say, “I felt like we were looking so bright. We were going up a ladder to a positive direction.”