FALL RIVER (CBS) — Testifying in court Tuesday morning, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his star player Aaron Hernandez told him he was “innocent” when asked if he was involved in a murder.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. He was a tight end on the Patriots before the team released him when he was arrested.
Kraft said that he arrived at Gillette Stadium two days after the Lloyd slaying to find news media in the parking lot and in helicopters overhead. He then found Hernandez in a weight room and spoke with him privately.
Hernandez said he was “innocent,” according to Kraft, adding that he hoped the time of the murder came out because he was at a night club at the time.
Prosecution Questions Kraft
“He said he was not involved, that he was innocent, and that he hoped the time of the murder incident came out because I believe he said he was in a club,” Kraft said.
Kraft said he’s never had an interaction like that with a player before.
“I wanted to know whether he was involved,” Kraft said. “Any player who comes into our system I consider part of our extended family, I wanted to get him help.”
Defense Questions Kraft
Kraft said Hernandez told him that he had a “social” relationship with Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
“He hugged and kissed me and thanked me for my concern,” Kraft said.
The testimony started off on a light note with the Patriots owner answering the prosecutor’s opening questions sounding a bit amused.
“Sir, do you work?” the prosecutor asked.
“I think so, yes,” Kraft said.
“Where do you work?” the prosecutor asked.
“I work at 1 Patriot Place,” Kraft said.
“And what do you do for work, sir?” the prosecutor asked.
“Whatever they ask me to do,” Kraft said.
WBZ legal analyst Harry Manion said it’s not clear that Kraft’s testimony helped one side over the other in the case.
Prosecution Redirect Of Kraft
“He’s a witness, that’s all he is. It’s not because he’s the owner of the Patriots,” Manion said. “He talked to a murder defendant about his whereabouts on the night of the murder.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports: