Aaron Hernandez Testifies in a Pre-Trial Hearing

He appeared in court for the first time since his arraignment Wednesday.

Aaron Hernandez appeared in court for the first time since his arraignment Wednesday, and this time, he took the stand! It was only to testify on the matter of his defense lawyer working at a firm with the wife of a prosecuting attorney. In addition to answer some biographical questions—did you know he worked for the NFL?—he said he didn’t have a problem with the potential conflict of interest, and wanted to keep his lawyer.

It was the first of what will probably be several pre-trial hearing during which the lawyers will discuss a range of procedural issues like that one. As usual, the courtroom filled with media, the family of victim Odin Lloyd, and #81 jersey-wearing Hernandez supporters to watch these matters get decided. And of course, there was Hernandez, wearing a jacket and tie and handcuffs.

As for the motions, the D.A.’s office made known that they plan to ask Judge Susan Garsh to recuse herself from the case because of her clashes with their office surrounding a 2010 murder trial. The defense said they’d oppose any such motion. We’ll hear more about that at a hearing next week.

Then the defense complained, as they have in the past, about leaks from law enforcement sources that have hurt Hernandez’s right to a fair trial and asked for a formal gag order on the lawyers. Prosecutors have opposed the idea, saying they’re already banned from making extrajudicial statements that might prejudice a jury by existing rules. The judge sided with prosecutors, agreeing the existing rules were enough.

Running under the surface of all is the matter of that pesky 2012 double murder outside Cure Lounge in the South End for which authorities have made clear they heavily suspect Hernandez. This week, they finally located Alexander Bradley, the man who has sued Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the eye, and forced Bradley to appear before the grand jury investigating the double murder. Investigators told the Hartford Courant they think Hernandez and Bradley were together the night of the double murder. If that’s true and he was involved, his reappearance probably can’t inspire tears of joy in Hernandez’s cell.