Recusal of judge sought in Hernandez case

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October 9, 2013, 5:33 pm
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(NECN: Kathryn Sotnik) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez spoke unexpectedly at a pre-trial hearing in Fall River, Mass. Wednesday.

Hernandez answered a number of questions from Judge E. Susan Garsh.

Garsh said she wanted to make sure Hernandez knew about a potential conflict of interest involving his attorneys.

Hernandez's defense attorney Michael Fee is a partner at Ropes & Gray in Boston; the assistant district attorney's wife also works in the office.

"Mr. Hernandez expressed no objection" Fee told the judge.

But that wasn't the only drama in the courtroom.

In a move that both the judge and defense say they weren't expecting, the prosecution filed a motion asking Judge Garsh to recuse, or remove, herself from the case.

Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley said, "The Commonwealth does not take lightly the filing of a motion to recuse."

While in or out of court, prosecutors wouldn't say why they want Judge Garsh off, but paperwork shows "In a prior murder case involving the same prosecutor, the judge exhibited antagonism and bias toward the prosecution throughout the case."

The former New England Patriots player seemed relaxed in court Wednesday. He smiled as he sat at the defense table, and was not in handcuffs for the hearing.

Like all court appearances, the victim's family sat together in the front row.

Prosecutors have alleged Hernandez planned 27-year-old Odin Lloyd's killing because he was upset with Lloyd for talking to some people at a nightclub with whom Hernandez had problems.

Hernandez is also being investigated in relation to a 2012 double homicide in Boston.

His attorneys say they're anxious to clear his name in the murder case.

"Aaron is doing fine and very much looking forward to having a trial before a jury of his peers," defense attorney Charles Rankin says.

Hernandez's defense attorneys say they'll object to the recusal request.

Arguments on that will be heard Oct. 21.

Tags: Aaron Hernandez, fall river massachusetts, Kathryn Sotnik, pretrial hearing, odin lloyd
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