BOSTON — Families of two men who ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez is accused of murdering are seeking to stop the U.S. football team from paying a $3.25 million bonus to the former NFL player, their lawyer said on Friday.
A motion filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston this week seeks to add the Patriots as co-defendants in a $6 million civil wrongful death lawsuit filed in February against Hernandez, who prosecutors contend killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after an altercation involving a spilled drink in a Boston nightclub in 2012.
The motion seeks to stop the team from paying Hernandez a $3.25 million signing bonus, diverting it instead to the court where it would be available for payout to the families of the victims if they win their case. The bonus was due to Hernandez in March but has not been paid, and the union for NFL players has filed a grievance on Hernandez’s behalf over the sum.
“We’re really trying to put some money and assets aside to compensate the victim’s families,” said William Kennedy, the families’ attorney. “Both of the victims in this case supported their mothers. We believe they have a right to be compensated for their loss.”
Hernandez’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for the Patriots declined to comment.
Kennedy also rebuffed Hernandez’s argument that he needs the bonus to pay his legal fees for the two murder trials he is facing, both the Boston double-murder and the slaying of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd near his North Attleborough, Massachusetts, home in June 2013. Kennedy said Hernandez has yet to disclose the whereabouts of the $11.2 million he earned over three years with the NFL.
The Patriots cut Hernandez from the team roster hours after his arrest on charges of killing Lloyd, though he remains under contract.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed in a separate murder case by the family of Lloyd. In that case, the Patriots have agreed to let the court know before paying the bonus to Hernandez.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all three murder charges.
NFL NOTEBOOK: stemming from salary cap penalties toward the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins in 2012. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Wednesday reportedly overturned a decision by Judge David Doty to dismiss the suit. The case is expected to proceed, forcing the league to disclose information about how teams were told to treat the uncapped year of 2010. “Our union will always pursue and protect the rights of its players,” the NFLPA said in a statement Friday. “We are pleased that the Eighth Circuit ruled that players have the opportunity to proceed with their claims. Through discovery and a hearing, we can understand how collusion took place. We have notified the NFL of its obligations to preserve all relevant documents and communications.” The NFLPA lawsuit, which was filed May 23, claims that the NFL imposed a secret salary cap of $123 million in 2010, despite the league agreeing to have no cap that season because of the lockout. The NFL penalized the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints for violating the cap. The league subtracted $35 million in cap space from the Redskins and $10 million from the Cowboys, and redistributed the money among 28 other clubs. The Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints were exempted from receiving their share of the money because of their own cap violations.