Hernandez Defense Seeks Mistrial Based on Witness Testimony

Aaron Hernandez is accused of gunning down 2 men at a stoplight after one of them allegedly bumped into him at a Boston nightclub, spilling his drink

Proceedings in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez continued Friday with the judge discussing the defense team's motion for a mistrial.

The motion for a mistrial from Hernandez’s defense team centered around Thursday’s testimony by surviving shooting victim Raychides Sanches. 

Defense attorney Ronald Sullivan said, “Mr. Sanches testified that the alleged shooter was – quote – ‘white just like him’ where ‘him’ was followed by a knowing look and a head nod in the direction of Mr. Hernandez.” 

The defense team argued Sanches was not allowed to make that identification of Hernandez in court, which led to this fiery exchange.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan said, “This is not only inaccurate, it’s disingenuous and quite frankly offensive.”

Sullivan interrupted, “I find it offensive that Mr. Haggan now stands here and tries to articulate what this witness said and what this witness would say as the truth, it wasn’t the truth, it was a lie!”

With the jury present, Judge Jeffrey Locke made it clear.

“Mr. Sanches did not identify anyone as the perpetrator of the crime,” said Judge Locke to the jury. 

The defense claimed prosecutors elicited testimony from witness Raychides Sanches earlier this week that was not allowed. Sanches testified Wednesday that he was riding in a vehicle with the two victims when they were shot and killed.

Hernandez is accused of gunning down Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after one of them bumped into him at a Boston nightclub in July 2012, spilling his drink. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

The defense team claimed Sanches' description was tainted by media coverage of the Odin Lloyd murder trial. Hernandez is already serving a life sentence without parole after he was convicted two years ago of killing Lloyd in 2013.

Prosecutors said Friday that the defense allegations are "not only inaccurate but disingenuous and offensive." 

In court on Thursday, Judge Jeffrey Locke prevented defense attorneys from claiming in front of jurors that Hernandez's alleged victims were killed as a result of gang activity.

Jose Baez, Hernandez's lawyer, used the social media activity of a man who survived the South End shooting in an effort to connect him and the victims to gangs instead of his client, but Locke would not allow it.

"You can't just throw things out there to simply smear a witness," Locke said.

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