Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is led into court for… (Matt Stone / Associated…)
A judge might impose a formal gag order in the murder case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez after his attorneys accused the state of allowing leaks they contend could jeopardize his right to a fair trial.
At a hearing in Fall River (Mass.) Superior Court on Monday, defense attorney Michael Fee blamed prosecutors for out-of-court statements reported in the media that he says have tarnished the ex-player.
"Mr. Hernandez is entitled to a fair trial," Fee told Judge Susan Garsh during the hourlong proceeding. "He is entitled to a jury panel that has not been poisoned by either false or sensational statements."
The judge did not immediately rule on the defense's request for a formal gag order.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semiprofessional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.
In court Monday, Assistant District Atty. William McCauley denied the allegations, saying no leaks have come from the district attorney's office or the investigative team.
Twins finish deals with Pelfrey, Suzuki
The Minnesota Twins have signed right-hander Mike Pelfrey and catcher Kurt Suzuki.
The contracts were finalized Monday. Pelfrey agreed more than a week ago to an $11-million, two-year deal. Suzuki agreed Friday to a $2.75-million, one-year deal.
Pelfrey was 5-13 with a 5.19 earned-run average in 29 starts last season, his first after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his elbow. He'll return to the rotation with Kevin Correia, with Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes now at the top. One spot will be open in spring training.
The 30-year-old Suzuki will back up prospect Josmil Pinto, with Joe Mauer moving to first base and Ryan Doumit traded to Atlanta.
The Chicago White Sox claimed left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp off waivers from the San Francisco Giants and lost infielder Brent Morel to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 26-year-old Surkamp, a sixth-round pick by the Giants in the 2008 amateur draft, was 0-1 with a 23.63 ERA in one spot start for San Francisco last season that lasted only 22/3 innings on July 23 against his hometown Cincinnati Reds. He was 7-1 with a 2.80 ERA between Class-A San Jose and triple-A Fresno.
Morel appeared in 12 games for Chicago last season and batted .200. He has a .229 average in 194 games.
The Texas Rangers received outfielder Alex Castellanos on a waiver claim from Boston.
The Red Sox acquired Castellanos in a trade with the Dodgers on Oct. 23. The 27-year-old was designated for assignment Dec. 12 when Boston re-signed free agent Mike Napoli.
America's Cup might return to Bay Area
In a strong sign that the America's Cup could return to San Francisco in 2017, Mayor Ed Lee has proposed to regatta organizers that Piers 27-29 serve as the main venue again and host the team bases.
Lee said in a letter to the America's Cup Event Authority that the city is making the proposal "with great enthusiasm, guided by the lessons learned and practical experience of the 34th America's Cup."
The city and the America's Cup Event Authority must still agree to a host city agreement for the 35th America's Cup. Although the buildup to the 34th America's Cup was full of setbacks, Oracle Team USA staged one of the greatest comebacks in sports in September by winning eight straight races against Emirates Team New Zealand to retain the silver trophy.
A news report in Brazil cites a Sao Paulo state Labor Ministry official as saying the man who operated the crane that collapsed at the city's World Cup stadium had worked 18 days in a row.
Two construction workers were killed in the Nov. 27 accident, which remains under investigation.
G1 Internet portal quotes the ministry's regional superintendent, Luis Antonio Medeiros, as saying time cards showed the crane operator at the Arena Corinthians stadium "was 18 days without any break.