BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors are again asking a judge to allow them to use the contents of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez's cellphone as evidence in his upcoming double murder trial.
Lawyers for Hernandez argue that authorities learned about the phone through confidential communications between Hernandez and his sports agent, Brian Murphy, who is also an attorney. They have requested that the contents be barred as evidence.
But in a written response released Friday, prosecutors said Hernandez has not established that he has a protected attorney-client relationship with Murphy. They said Murphy has been administratively suspended from practicing law and does not maintain a legal practice as a sports agent in California.
"The defendant's 'sports agent relationship' with Murphy alone does not and cannot protect their communications," prosecutors from Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley's office argued in the court filing.
Hernandez is scheduled to go on trial in February in the 2012 shooting deaths of two men he encountered at a Boston nightclub. He has pleaded not guilty in the slayings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.
Prosecutors have asked a judge to hold a hearing on the cellphone issue.
State police seized the phone after Lloyd was killed in June 2013. Text messages included communications between Hernandez and Murphy. The phone also contained text messages between Hernandez and Alexander Bradley, a Hernandez friend who was with him the night of the 2012 shootings.
Hernandez is also charged with witness intimidation and accused of shooting Bradley in 2013 in Florida. Massachusetts prosecutors have said Hernandez shot Bradley because he was a witness to the 2012 shootings and Hernandez was worried he would talk.
The messages refer to efforts to settle a lawsuit Bradley intended to file against Hernandez.
"So I'll watch as it hits tv have fun explaining that to coach n the the pats franchise ... Shoulda resolved this amicably as we offered you," Bradley said in a text message to Hernandez.
Bradley survived the shooting and is expected to be the star prosecution witness against Hernandez at his trial.