FALL RIVER (CBS/AP) — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez took the stand Wednesday afternoon in a pre-trial hearing in his murder case.

Hernandez was indicted in August in the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Dorchester, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend. He pleaded not guilty to murder and five weapons-related charges last month.

At the hearing Wednesday in Fall River Superior Court, the judge asked Hernandez to take the stand to question him about a potential conflict of interest involving one of his attorneys.

Defense attorney Michael Fee is a partner at Ropes and Gray in Boston, as is Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg’s wife.

Fee said his association with the prosecutor’s wife will not affect his ability to help represent Hernandez.

After a series of “yes” and “no” answers to questions from the judge, Hernandez agreed to keep Fee despite the potential for a conflict of interest.

At one point, the judge asked Hernandez about his profession. “I played football,” he said.

Earlier in the hearing, a gag order in the case was discussed.

Hernandez’s attorney said a “torrent” of information has been “leaked” to the media. He also submitted news articles citing law enforcement sources.

The judge asked prosecutors if they had made any effort to investigate where the leaks had come from. (Continued…)

Prosecutors said many of the reports attributed to law enforcement sources are wrong.

The judge told both sides the rules of professional conduct are sufficient and that there would be no gag order for now.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

In a discussion about preserving evidence, prosecutors were told they will have to let the defense know if they come across any lost or destroyed evidence. The prosecution was also ordered to tell police to save all evidence in the case.

Hernandez wore a tie for the first time in his many court appearances since his arrest back in June.  At one point during the hearing, the judge allowed a request from Hernandez’s attorney to have his handcuffs removed.

Four others, including Hernandez’s girlfriend and cousin, are facing charges in the case.

Hernandez is being held without bail.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk contributed to this report.

You can follow her on Twitter @LaurenWBZ.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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