EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 20, 2013

Eagle-Tribune group joins effort to unseal Hernandez records

NORTH ANDOVER — The Eagle-Tribune Publishing Co. and all its papers joined several news organizations yesterday in requesting release of court-sealed documents in the murder investigation of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Motions to remove the impoundment order on arrest and search warrant affadavits in the case were submitted to the Bristol County District Court. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Hernandez, 23, has been charged with first-degree murder in the execution-style shooting of Odin Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player from Boston a month ago. Hernandez has twice been denied bail and is being held at the county jail.

CNN, Associated Press, Gatehouse Media Inc., The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro and WPRI-TV of Providence are also parties to the request to unseal information about what authorities discovered when they executed arrest and search warrants involving Hernandez.

Hernandez’ lawyers asked the court to seal the documents to ensure a fair trial. They argue that the evidence against the football player is circumstantial. The prosecution also agreed to the seal order.

The news organizations contend the public is entitled to know what information is contained in the sealed documents. They noted that last week a district judge lifted an impoundment order on other search warrant affidavits in the Hernandez case.

Attorney Michael Grygiel of Greenberg Traurig LLP in Boston, who is representing the news organizations, said the public has a presumptive right to court documents that will allow the public “to be fully and fairly informed about matters of significant public interest.”

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