(NBC)–A judge has denied a motion by defense lawyers for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez seeking to change the location of his trial, saying there is no reason to believe he won’t be able to get a fair trial in the Boston area.
Hernandez’s attorneys had argued that pre-trial publicity would make it hard for the former football star to get a fair trial in Bristol County. They said the jury pool had been “poisoned” by prejudicial pretrial publicity and suggested moving the trial “outside the Boston media market” to Hampden County or Worcester County.
However, Judge E. Susan Garsh disagreed with the arguments made by Hernandez’s attorneys.
“Hernandez has not demonstrated by a solid foundation of fact that there exists in Bristol County so great a prejudice against him that he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial there,” Garsh said in her ruling. “Nothing about the polling proffered by the defendant provides any reason to believe that impaneling a jury in Worcester or Hampden County would be any more or less difficult.
“The reality is that the extensive media coverage of this case is not driven by local media or by any particular local interest,” the judge added. “Because the defendant is an athlete from a nationally prominent professional football team, the case is of interest to people across the state, New England, ann the country.”
Garsh said the court will reconsider its ruling if, during jury selection, it becomes apparent that it will not be possible to pick “a fair and impartial jury” in Bristol County.
Hernandez is set to go on trial in January for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.