Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Testifies at Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

We are a couple months into the Aaron Hernandez trial now, and after a slow several weeks of nondescript law enforcement characters and forensics experts, business picked up this week.

It started with the continuation of the testimony of Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's fiancé and the mother of their two year old daughter. To say that Jenkins's testimony was difficult to believe would be like saying the smell of the ship channel chemical plants is difficult to detect.

Jenkins' selective memory and implausible deniability when it comes to things like the large box she urgently removed that likely contained the murder weapon the day after the murder of Odin Lloyd were laughable. The question now comes did she say enough to keep herself and her fiancé out of jail.

Then on Tuesday, we got our first huge name witness, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft took the stand.

The demeanor from Kraft was understandably icy toward Hernandez, as the Patriots' owner made no eye contact with the defendant on his way up to the witness stand. (I'm guessing Kraft was like "I got better things to do than testify in some murder trial.")

The questioning opened with this unintentionally humorous exchange between Kraft and the prosecuting attorney:

PROSECUTOR: Sir, do you work?

KRAFT: I think so, yes.

PROSECUTOR: Where do you work?

KRAFT: I work at One Patriot Place.

PROSECUTOR: OK, and what do you do for work, sir?

KRAFT: [Long pause] Umm, whatever they ask me to do.

Among the things we learned from Kraft's testimony:

1. Hernandez told Kraft that he was innocent of the murder of Odin Lloyd, going so far as to tell Kraft that he was "in the club" at the time that Lloyd was shot. While it is still technically unproven that Hernandez pulled the trigger, his presence at the site of Lloyd's murder at the time of the murder has been proven true via multiple video surveillances and witness accounts.

2. Kraft and Hernandez had a custom where they greeted each other with hugs and kisses. Literal hugs and kisses. In fact, in their meeting a couple days after Lloyd's murder, they hugged and kissed. I don't believe this counts toward the infidelity accusations from Hernandez's fiancé the previous day. Kraft and Hernandez are in a platonic relationship.

3. Kraft's testimony provided a fascinating window into just how much he delegates (or how little he recalls, could be both) as an owner. When asked about where Hernandez went to college, Kraft couldn't recall which Florida school it was ("the one with Urban Meyer" was his eventual answer), and he made it abundantly clear that he doesn't scour contract extensions (like Hernandez's $40 million extension) for t's and c's. He just signs off on it.

4. The defense's strategy was clearly an attempt to use Kraft's credibility as a platform to show Hernandez as a decent, trustworthy individual. In particular, they tried to essentially pose the rhetorical question "Why would Robert Kraft trust a murderer in giving him a $40 million contract extension?" (GREAT question, why would he?) And one thing ws abundantly clear -- Kraft was entirely uncomfortable providing any testimony that would somehow paint Hernandez as innocent. The defense questioning made the normally cool Kraft visibly disturbed (visibly, for him).

Once Kraft stepped down, it was back to some of the less celebrated witnesses in the case, as the Patriots director of security took the stand. Early in his testimony, it became clear that Kraft wasn't the only one Hernandez lied to, and the big loser in that exchange was Hernandez's baby daughter...

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast