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Aaron Hernandez bought cousin’s silence, prosecutors say

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez bought his cousin’s silence with money, Bristol County prosecutors said, sharply disagreeing with the defense, which has contended that Tanya Singleton refused to testify against Hernandez out of familial love.

Prosecutors said Singleton deserved the maximum 2½-year sentence for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the June 2013 slaying in North Attleborough of Odin L. Lloyd of Boston, of which Hernandez and two friends are accused.

RELATED: Hernandez cousin sentenced to one year home confinement on contempt charge

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But prosecutors acknowledged that they could not ensure that Singleton would get the same quality medical care in jail for her breast cancer, which her lawyer says has metastasized and will eventually kill her.

For that reason, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office wrote, Singleton should spend the next two years under house arrest in her Bristol, Conn., home, wearing a GPS bracelet and barred from contact with Hernandez or the two other men charged with killing Lloyd, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz.

Boston Herald/Pool/file

While the defense has said Tanya Singleton refused to testify out of love for her cousin, prosecutors said that was not her real motivation.

Singleton is slated to appear Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River at 9 a.m. Monday to plead guilty to contempt of court. The allegations by prosecutors about Singleton’s motives were included as part of their sentencing recommendation filed in court last week.

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E. Peter Parker, Singleton’s attorney, said he was pleased that prosecutors are not seeking a jail sentence. He declined to comment further.

Prosecutors said in the filing that during a meeting on July 12, 2013, while Hernandez was being held at the Bristol County jail, Hernandez told Singleton “not to say anything and she agreed.’’

The defense has said that Singleton’s decision not to testify “came from her heart’’ and that she was motivated by love for her cousin, who is 17 years younger and whom she helped raise as if he were her own son.

But the prosecutors said that if the contempt-of-court case had proceeded to trial, they would have shown that Singleton’s decision to remain silent was “coldly calculated and not the product of an emotional decision.”

“This ‘familial relationship’ is bolstered by a financial incentive as Hernandez has repeatedly provided money to the defendant,’’ prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors also said Singleton expressed her “true feelings toward the court, the court order, the victims and the public safety . . . during a two-word sentence she uttered in a phone call to Wallace on the eve of her contumacious appearance at the grand jury, in which she used a vulgarity.

Prosecutors also detailed what information they believed Singleton could have provided, if she had testified:

  Wallace and Ortiz were at her Bristol, Conn., home when they were allegedly summoned to North Attleborough by Hernandez before Lloyd was killed. The two men returned to her home after Lloyd’s body was found on June 17, 2013, in North Attleborough. She could have described conversations with the two men before and after Lloyd’s slaying.

  She could have detailed attempts to send Carlos Ortiz out of state before he was arrested as part of the investigation of the Lloyd killing. She also could have detailed how she allegedly got a new cellphone for Wallace and what was said during “secretive conversations that the two were observed to be engaged in along the route.’’

  She could have explained to law enforcement how Hernandez, Ortiz, and Wallace know each other and what connections they have to each other.

Hernandez, Wallace, and Ortiz have all pleaded not guilty and are being held pending trial.

In a separate hearing Monday, Garsh said she would review a defense motion to bar prosecutors from presenting evidence at trial from a Blackberry cellphone seized during a search of Hernandez’s home.

Hernandez appeared at the hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes, flanked by his attorneys, James Sultan, Michael Fee, and Charles Rankin.

Garsh had ruled last month that Sutter’s office was entitled to use video from Hernandez’s home security system during the trial, which is to begin early next year. Garsh had also ruled that prosecutors could use information from Hernandez’s iPhone, which was also seized during the search.

Garsh said she would decide on the admissibility of information from the Blackberry. It is not clear what prosecutors have allegedly found on the Blackberry.

After the hearing, Garsh also issued an order allowing a defense expert to examine the ballistics evidence in the case at his office in Lowell. While ammunition has been found, the alleged murder weapon, a .45-caliber handgun, has not been recovered, authorities have said.

Hernandez, a tight end who once appeared to have a bright future in professional football, also faces charges in a 2012 double slaying in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Singleton also faces a charge in Suffolk Superior Court that she allegedly refused to testify before the grand jury in the Boston case. She pleaded not guilty in June, but has a change of plea hearing scheduled for Aug. 19, records show.

Lloyd’s body was discovered on the afternoon of June 17, 2013, behind a building on John Dietsch Boulevard in North Attleborough, a half-mile from Hernandez’s home.

In other action related to the case, a hearing for Hernandez’s girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins, scheduled for Monday, was rescheduled to Aug. 22.

Travis Andersen and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was also used. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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