(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft recalled his conversation with Aaron Hernandez about the incident that’s the basis of the football player’s murder trial.
Kraft was on the stand in the Fall River Justice Center in Fall River, Massachusetts, about 40 miles south of Gillette Stadium, where Kraft said he last spoke to Hernandez for about “five to 10 minutes.” Kraft said he “vaguely” remembered that Hernandez told him he was “completely innocent.”
Hernandez, 25, is charged with killing Odin Lloyd on June 17, 2013. Lloyd, 27, was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee and was was found shot to death in an industrial park less than a mile from a home that Hernandez and his fiancee shared.
Kraft said he approached Hernandez on June 19, 2013, in the weight room of Gillette Stadium and asked to speak with him. At that time, media were reporting about Hernandez’s involvement in the incident.
Kraft mostly answered “yes” and “no” to questions from both the defense and prosecution, revealing that the businessman had “no problems” with Hernandez in the stadium, but admitted to an attorney that he didn’t know much about the player’s life outside of the stadium.
“You were at Gillette stadium and you saw all the media assembled there,” an attorney asked Kraft. “The media coverage at that point was non-stop and it was extensive. And that bothered you, didn’t it?”
Kraft then answered “yes.”
Kraft said earlier when he took the stand, “I had heard there was an incident that had transpired,” and that he had asked Hernandez “whether he was involved.”
“Any player involved in our system…I consider family,” Kraft said. “I wanted to get him help.”
“He hugged and kissed me and thanked me for my concern,” Kraft said of Hernandez, saying he didn’t see Hernandez after that conversation.
The defense attorney asked questions about Hernandez’s contract through the 2018 season, asking why Kraft would make such a long-term investment in the player, to which Kraft responded, “He’s a very good player.”
Last month, a trainer that’s not employed by the team testified in the trial. Coach Bill Belichick and linebacker Brandon Spikes are on the witness list, but it’s not clear if they will be called to the stand.
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