Aaron Hernandez case: expert discusses prosecution's "absolutely stunning" move

(CBS News) Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez returned to court Wednesday, and in a "absolutely stunning" move, according to CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman, the prosecution asked the judge, Susan Garsh, to recuse herself from the case.

Klieman said on "CBS This Morning," "We know that defense lawyers go to court a lot and they ask judges to recuse themselves for a whole variety of reasons. In my day of trying cases and in covering cases, I have never seen a prosecutor make this motion. I think it is not a good idea, despite any bad blood that they have had in the past because other people -- and I think really good sources of information about this judge, Susan Garsh, in Boston -- say she is very fair."

Ex-NFL star takes stand in murder case hearing, prosecutors want judge out

"Now it also makes the whole office look suspect in the eyes of other judges," Klieman said. "I thought about the fact that prosecutors are actually fungible. You have a whole office full of prosecutors. Well, if you move to remove a judge because you have animosity or she has it toward you, for heaven's sakes, why not recuse yourself and let some other prosecutor go ask the questions?"

Turning to the actual court appearance, Klieman said the former New England Patriots' player's appearance appeared "well orchestrated." She said, "They dressed him in a way that now -- for the first time since his arrest -- we have video that makes him look like a respectable young man. We learn that he can be soft-spoken, that he can answer questions intelligently, that he looks thoughtful. I think that the defense did a great job of humanizing him because before we've seen him look like a thug all tatted up and in a T-shirt."

Hernandez was indicted in August on first-degree murder and weapons charges, including carrying a firearm without a license and carrying a large-capacity firearm. Last month, he pleaded not guilty.

"This murder charge may be one that is easy to prove and it may be one that's hard to prove depending on if they find the gun and the cooperating witnesses. We also have gun charges here...and those stack up against him because, even if he should be acquitted of the murder, he's not necessarily going to be acquitted of the gun charges."

A hearing will be held in Hernandez's case on October 21.

For more on this case, watch Klieman's full analysis above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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