BOSTON (AP) — The New England Patriots don't owe "another penny" to former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is charged in three killings, a team lawyer told a judge yesterday.
Attorney Andrew Phelan said the team terminated its contract with Hernandez shortly after he was charged last year in the death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He said the team does not believe it owes Hernandez a $3.25 million contract signing bonus.
"The Patriots believe under the terms of that contract that they owe not another penny to Mr. Hernandez," Phelan said during a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court on wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, two Boston men prosecutors say were also killed by Hernandez.
The families' lawyer, William Kennedy, asked for an order barring the Patriots from paying Hernandez the $3.25 million if the team is ever ordered to do so by an arbitrator. According to the lawsuit filed by Kennedy, Hernandez has filed a grievance seeking the money, plus $82,000 he says is owed to him by the team.
But Judge Bonnie MacLeod said the team is already subject to a similar order in the Lloyd case and accepted a signed stipulation from the Patriots. The agreement says the Patriots will inform the court if an arbitrator orders them to pay Hernandez and will be subject to any further orders from the court on the matter, Kennedy said.
Kennedy also asked to add the Patriots organization as a defendant in the lawsuit. He said his primary goal in adding the team was to be able to get information on the terms of Hernandez's contract with the Patriots in an effort to try to secure assets for the families in the event they are awarded damages by a jury. Each family is asking for $6 million in damages.