BOSTON — A judge Tuesday set May 28 as the tentative trial date for Aaron Hernandez to face charges that he killed two men in a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston.
Hernandez's attorneys also argued that a gag order is necessary to ensure the former New England Patriot gets a fair trial.
Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, both Cape Verdean men, died in the 3 am drive-by shooting on July 16. Prosecutors say Hernandez "stalked and ambushed" the victims after one of them bumped into him at a nightclub earlier in the night, causing him to spill his drink.
Defense attorney James Sultan described Hernandez's charges in the Boston double homicide and June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro as an "unprecedented situation of a defendant who is charged in two different counties"
"Both cases have extremely high public visibility and media attention," Sultan said. "I am dubious that Mr. Hernandez can receive a fair trial."
Prosecutors have filed a motion opposing the defense's request for an order to prohibit extrajudicial statements.
Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke did not issue a decision on the defense motion for a gag order.
A Fall River Superior Court judge last fall imposed an order preventing parties in the Lloyd case from discussing details of the investigation outside of court.
Hernandez appeared in good health Tuesday, three days after he was taken to the hospital from the jail in north Dartmouth, Mass. where he has been held for the last year. He is next scheduled to appear in Suffolk County Court on Aug. 14.
Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star from Bristol, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, stemming from the double homicide that occurred six weeks before he signed a $40 million contract extension.
The charges are the result of a previously dead-end investigation that authorities reopened after Hernandez was arrested in the June 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was friends with Lloyd, of Dorchester, but had no connection to Abreu and Furtado.