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Hernandez defence, New England Patriots at odds over records

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The Canadian Press
7/9/2014 5:54:06 PM
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FALL RIVER, Mass. -- The New England Patriots will turn over hundreds of pages of personnel records to lawyers for former tight end Aaron Hernandez but object to producing scouting reports and a psychological assessment, a team lawyer said Wednesday.

Patriots' attorney Andrew Phelan said at a hearing in Fall River Superior Court the team has agreed to produce 317 pages of materials sought by the defence, including medical and training records.

But the team objects to turning over nine pages of scouting reports, which Phelan said contain proprietary "trade secrets." He also said they are irrelevant.

Phelan said the Patriots have offered Hernandez's lawyers the option of reviewing -- but not copying -- what he described as a 1 1/2 page summary of the psychological assessment. That's all the team has, according to court filings.

The team says the defence should seek to obtain the full report from the third party that produced it, which specializes in providing character and mental assessments for professional sports organizations.

Phelan accused the defence of being on a "fishing expedition."

Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a former semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial area not far from the ex-player's Massachusetts home. Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated the killing because he was upset with Lloyd for talking to some people with whom Hernandez had problems at a nightclub a few days earlier.

Hernandez's attorneys last month asked a judge to approve a subpoena to compel his former employer to turn over all the records in his personnel file, saying they may contain important information about his state of mind.

"State of mind is critical," defence attorney Michael Fee told a judge Wednesday. "This is not a fishing expedition. We're not on a lark."

He said the scouting reports may contain exculpatory information about "prior bad acts" allegedly committed by Hernandez before he joined the Patriots in 2010, including while he played football at the University of Florida.

Fee called the offer to merely look at the psychological profile summary "a dodge and a feint," saying the document is part of the personnel file and that the defence is entitled to it.

Hernandez has agreed to the file's release. He was released by the Patriots on the day of his arrest last summer.

The judge did not hear arguments on the merits of the subpoena request but set a hearing for July 22.

Hernandez attended Wednesday's proceeding but did not address the court. Afterward, he was transferred to a new jail in Boston after his attorneys' earlier request for a move -- to be closer to them -- was approved.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins said Hernandez, who is being held without bail, will be treated like any other inmate. He said Hernandez will undergo an initial assessment before it's determined whether he'll be placed in the general population or isolation.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in a separate case in which he's charged with killing two men in Boston in 2012.

Aaron Hernandez (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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