Herndandez lawyer: Anonymous caller questioned truthfulness of juror

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Monday, June 15, 2015

FALL RIVER, Mass. -- A lawyer for Aaron Hernandez says he's concerned that one of the jurors who convicted the former New England Patriots player of murder may have been "untruthful" during jury selection.

In redacted court documents released Monday, lawyer James Sultan says an anonymous tipster first called him April 16, a day after the 12-person jury convicted Hernandez of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough. Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The names of the juror and the caller are redacted throughout the documents, as are details of what the caller said and what was said during the jury selection process before the trial.

In the papers, Sultan told the judge the female tipster would not give him her last name and called him several times from a blocked number.

During those conversations, one lasting as long as 25 minutes, Sultan said she told him that she recognized the juror from TV and that the juror had been present for a discussion about a Boston double murder case that Hernandez is also charged in. Mention of those killings was barred at trial. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

He also said the anonymous caller told him that she heard someone else say the juror had wanted to be seated on the Hernandez panel.

"She told me she does not want [redacted] into trouble, but it is on her conscience that she knows some information which may be important," Sultan wrote.

Sultan says if the juror had disclosed knowing about the Boston case during jury selection or had shown an interest in being on the jury, Hernandez's defense team would have asked that the juror be excused.

One juror was dismissed during the trial after the judge said evidence emerged that she had previously discussed the case and had an early interest in being seated on the panel.

He asked the judge to authorize a subpoena to trace the calls.

The papers were originally filed under seal. Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh on Monday decided to release the filings but partially redacted them to protect the identity of the juror. GateHouse Media, which publishes The Providence Journal and The Herald News of Fall River, had asked last week in court that the documents be unsealed and that the media be given immediate access.

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