Actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with a felony count of indecent assault and battery in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He is accused of groping a then-18-year-old bus boy at a restaurant where the young man worked in 2016. Spacey has been accused of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, but this is the only one that has yet resulted in criminal charges. The charges were only filed after publicity, including press conferences by the alleged victim and his mother, who is a former news anchor on Boston TV. The case is a problematic one, as the accuser lied about his age, returned to accept several drinks Spacey bought him, and even traded phone numbers with Spacey before the alleged unwanted advance. Prosecutors will have a very difficult time proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, a point that has been well explained elsewhere.
I write today to discuss an action that Spacey’s defense lawyers took this week that I think is clever. They filed a motion to ask the court to order preservation of records, specifically texts and other digital correspondence from the accuser in the case. Initially, I was surprised because a motion to preserve doesn’t have much effect on a criminal case: the government is bound to not only preserve evidence, but to turn it over to the defense in the discovery process. They even have to turn over evidence that is helpful to the defense, known as Brady material. So why would they bother filing such a motion.
Then, reading about the motion on CNN.com, it occurred to me that the thrust of the article was about the defense argument being put forth by the defense attorneys. The article lays out the arguments of the defense, then the State, and circles back around to reiterate the ‘highlights’ of the Defense motion. While the motion claims its primary purpose is to preserve the evidence, the real purpose of the motion was twofold: to rebut the filings of the State and start sharing facts positive to the defense in a public forum, and also to shift the discussion away from Spacey’s arraignment. The arraignment dominated the news cycle, but the most recent story, at least at CNN.com, counters the allegations and makes a cogent defense argument to the general public. A clever gambit by a defense team that is helping their client in the public forum as well as the legal forum.
A jury today found former Gator and Patriot football player not guilty on two counts of murder, along with the attempted murders of the other passengers and the intimidation charge against the State’s key witness. He was found guilty of illegal firearms possession, and sentenced to four to five years in prison, most of which he has already served. Now, this acquittal may be all for naught, as Hernandez is already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, for whom he was convicted of killing in 2013.
Keep in mind, a criminal acquittal is not proof that he did not do it (cough cough – OJ – cough cough). It merely means that the state did not convince the jurors beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. The state’s case was based on the testimony of Alexander Bradley, a convicted violent drug dealer who says he was there and Hernandez did it. Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez (who famously defended Casey Anthony) did a great job of casting doubt on Bradley, his motivations, and suggesting that it may have been Bradley who did the shooting. Without corroborating evidence, accepting Bradley’s testimony to convict was presumably to hard for the jury to swallow.
Hernandez’s other conviction is being appealed and will be heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, probably later this year.
The prosecution and Defense concluded their closing arguments this afternoon. The jury is expected to begin deliberations tomorrow. The Defense attacked the state’s star witness, himself a violent drug dealer with reason to blame Hernandez instead of himself. Jose Baez made some colorful arguments that the state did not prove their case.
Hernandez’ arm, with possibly incriminating tats
The State argues their witness was credible, and that the evidence supports his claim. They say Hernandez had motive, opportunity, and they allege that a tattoo he later got equates to a confession. This is not the first time tattoos have allegedly documented a crime. A verdict is expected in the coming days.
The prosecutors offered immunity to the fiance of Aaron Hernandez in order to get her to testify on their behalf in both of his murder trials. She testified in the second case this week, but she was definitely not there to help the prosecution. In fact, she gave Hernandez an alibi, saying that he was in a hotel with her at the time the murders allegedly took place. Prosecutors rebutted that evidence, by showing that a call was made from Hernandez’ phone to her from Boston’s South End just minutes after he allegedly shot two men after a dispute at a Boston nightclub. A federal agent testified that cell phone records indicated there was “absolutely no way” he could have been in Plainville when she claimed.
Jenkins-Hernandez was a reluctant witness for the prosecution, to say the least. After the previous trial where Aaron Hernandez was convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd, she not only maintained her engagement to him, but she even added is name to hers as a hyphenate. They are not legally married, and apparently Massachusetts does not allow conjugal visits, even if they were married. While she testified for the prosecutors, if they secure a conviction, it will be in spite of her testimony, not because of it.
The prosecution is expected to rest their case today or early next week.
Posted in Criminal Law, Florida, Uncategorized
Tagged aaron hernandez, boston, connecticut, dan wetzel, jose baez, Massachusetts, murder, nfl, plainville, south end, trial
The second murder trial of Aaron Hernandez has been underway in Boston, and the key witness against him recently took the stand. Holy cow the testimony was a doozy! Dan Wetzel did a great story detailing the testimony and the twisted background that let up to it. In short, after he allegedly shot the two men for the slight of spilling a drink on him at a nightclub, Hernandez grew more and more paranoid, and ultimately shot his friend in the face to prevent him from having a chance to turn him in. That friend, Alexander Bradley, survived only to refuse to break code and snitch on his friend. You should really go read the whole piece by Wetzel.
From a legal point of view, the case is fascinating. Bradley puts Hernandez at the scene, and describes him committing the murder. But Bradley’s testimony is going to be mercilessly attacked by defense attorney Jose Baez, who will claim that he’s the actual shooter. It’s his word alone that can convict Hernandez, and he has a motive to testify against the man he now says shot him in the face. The fact that Bradley initially refused to finger Hernandez as the man who shot him may actually help his credibility. The evidence suggests that these two men were in the car, and that one of them committed the crime. Bradley has his own charges, ranging from drug dealing and assault to shooting up a bar on another occasion. The State’s star witness is no angel. Regardless of the outcome, Hernandez is not likely to ever be released from prison, having already been sentenced to life for the murder of Odin Lloyd, though he is appealing that decision.
via Yahoo! Sports
Former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty today of First Degree Murder in the killing of Odin Lloyd. The jury deliberated for about a week before reaching the verdict. There is no death penalty in Massachusetts, so the judge went ahead and sentenced Hernandez to life in prison, which carries no possibility of parole.
Jurors gave a press conference afterword. They were apparently not impressed by the defense version of the story, and surprised at the fact that his attorney conceded he was present at the scene of the murder. However, they also were pretty moved by the State’s evidence, so they may have found him guilty if the Defense hadn’t present a theory of the case. They just needed a better one, but the evidence didn’t allow it.
Today represents the fifth full day of deliberations in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel points out that this is not an unusual time frame for a Massachusetts murder trial jury, especially on a complicated case like this. The presentation of the trial took 41 days, and the proof appears to be circumstantial, albeit substantial.