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Lawsuit seeks to keep Patriots money from Aaron Hernandez

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, right, spoke to his attorney Charles Rankin during a hearing at Bristol Superior Court in Fall River in February.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, right, spoke to his attorney Charles Rankin during a hearing at Bristol Superior Court in Fall River in February.

Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots player accused in three murders, is asking a judge to move him from the Bristol County jail to a facility closer to Boston.

Hernandez said he needs to be moved because he faces murder trials in both Bristol and Suffolk counties and, in order for his Boston-based lawyers to effectively assist him, he needs to be in a jail that is located closer to them.

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“In order for Hernandez to receive constitutionally guaranteed effective access to and assistance of counsel, in both cases, he needs to be held in a facility that does not require his counsel to drive from two, up to three to four hours round trip each time they need to meet with him,” Hernandez‘s lawyers said in a motion filed in Bristol County Superior Court.

Hernandez is also asserting that while he has been held at the Bristol jail, he has been subjected to “unreasonable restrictions” on his ability to confer with his counsel.

Hernandez also asserts Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson “joined forces” with Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter to bring criminal charges against him based on two alleged incidents in the jailhouse: an attack on a fellow inmate and threats made to a correction officer.

In addition, the defense motion lashed out at Hodgson, accusing the sheriff of using Hernandez’s presence at the North Dartmouth jail for “self-promotion and virtually non-stop publicity” that could “poison the potential jury pool.”

Hodgson adamantly denied the allegations in a phone interview.

“We are not doing anything that’s improper,” he said. “My staff has done a superb job to make sure that [Hernandez] is properly cared for in a safe environment.”

Hodgson bristled at the suggestion that his staff is impeding Hernandez’s ability to speak with his legal team.

“There’s absolutely no basis of fact in that assertion,” he said. “We recognize the importance of attorney-client privilege, and my staff will always honor that.”

Ashley Bendiksen, a spokeswoman for Sutter, said the district attorney would be filing a response in court at a later date.

Hernandez faces murder charges in Suffolk County in the double slaying of Daniel J. Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, in Boston’s South End in July 2012.

He also is charged with murder in Bristol County for the alleged June 2013 killing in North Attleborough of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester.

In addition, Hernandez faces civil wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of his alleged victims as well as a lawsuit brought by a onetime friend who says the former football player shot him in the face.

In a related matter, lawyers for the Abreu family are seeking to add the New England Patriots as defendants to their wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez. The move could allow money owed by the Patriots to Hernandez to be used to compensate the families of his alleged victims.

The motion sought to amend the lawsuit to add the Patriots as “reach and apply” defendants — essentially allowing the plaintiffs to reach any money owed by the Patriots to Hernandez and apply it to any judgment.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James did not have a comment.

The amended complaint alleged that the Patriots owed Hernandez a payment of $3.25 million as of March 2014. It also said Hernandez was due another payment of $82,000 in August 2013.

It asked the court to block the Patriots from distributing any money to Hernandez and to order that it instead be paid to the court.

In a separate motion, the attorneys also asked for the court to place a $5 million attachment on any real estate owned by Hernandez.

In a reply filed in court, Hernandez’s attorneys objected, saying “such a sweeping restraint is disproportionate and fundamentally unfair” because it would deprive the former NFL star of money he needs for his defense.

Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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