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Judge in Hernandez Case Approves Gag Order

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FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A judge says she found no ethical violations by prosecutors in the Aaron Hernandez murder case after his lawyers accused the state of allowing leaks and prejudicial out-of-court statements.

But Judge Susan Garsh ruled to impose a formal gag order to protect the ex-New England Patriot’s right to a fair trial. His attorneys had sought one.

They claimed the prosecution orchestrated a “publicity stunt” last year when Miami Dolphin Michael Pouncey was served with a subpoena related to the case after a game at Gillette Stadium. Prosecutors denied that and say they’ve leaked nothing.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

Garsh’s order, entered Thursday, demands both sides take “reasonable precautions” against prejudicial disclosures and says prosecutors must investigate any reports of leaks.