FALL RIVER — The fiancée of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez won a partial victory Wednesday in her perjury case when prosecutors were ordered to detail in writing her alleged lies to a grand jury.
Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh said from the bench that the indictment against Shayanna Jenkins, 24, “does not, the court finds, put the defendant on notice as to the nature” of the perjury charge. Prosecutors allege that Jenkins lied to the grand jury hearing evidence in the murder case against Hernandez.
Garsh ordered prosecutors to file by Dec. 2 a legal document, known as a bill of particulars, that specifies “the substance and effect of what [Jenkins] said that they believe constitutes perjury.”
William McCauley, a Bristol prosecutor, argued against the defense request, saying the government has provided Jenkins with evidence including grand jury minutes and that the details of her alleged lies are “clearly contained in her testimony.”
Hernandez is charged in the slaying of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, who was fatally shot June 17 and left in an industrial yard near the football player’s North Attleborough home.
Prosecutors said in Jenkins’s arraignment last month that she lied when she told the grand jury she could not recall where she dumped a box taken from the couple’s home on June 18, or where she went that day to purchase baby formula.
Authorities also said she lied about the timing of her request to have workers who cleaned their home sign nondisclosure agreements, falsely implicated Lloyd in drug activity, and was not truthful about conversations she had with Hernandez.
Prior to Wednesday, prosecutors had not given written details on Jenkins’ alleged lies. They briefly mentioned details in a court filing on Wednesday, and the bill of particulars orders them to provide specifics in writing.
Janice Bassil, a lawyer for Jenkins, said in court that more than 200 pages of grand jury transcripts address conversations that her client had with Hernandez and other issues. She wrote in a related motion that it is not known from the transcripts what statements prosecutors believe were false.
“This is ridiculous, that I’m supposed to figure out my trial strategy based on things they might have said at the arraignment,” Bassil said Wednesday.
While Garsh granted Bassil’s motion for a bill of particulars, she rejected her request to have prosecutors identify specific statements, by page and line number in the transcripts, that were allegedly false, as well as the legal basis for concluding that Jenkins lied.
McCauley opposed those requests and said that in the future, “we’ll make choices . . . of what proof we’ll have and what evidence to put forward. But at this time, we think most of that testimony is not credible.”
Bassil, in a motion filed last week for a bill of particulars, wrote that prosecutors are not “beholden” to what they said at arraignment about the allegations.
“A bill of particulars, however, will lock the Commonwealth in on its case, reining in an overly zealous prosecution,” she wrote.Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.