Judge Throws TV Camera Man out of Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

5:44 PM EDT 4/10/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh on Thursday banned Robert Cusanelli of WHDH-TV from covering the Aaron Hernandez murder trial after he acknowledged having followed jurors to their parking spots.

At the beginning of the murder trial, the judge had issued an order instructing members of the media not to contact jurors, particularly after Hernandez' defense attorneys raised repeated concerns that extensive news coverage of the trial was threatening the former Patriots tight end's right to a fair and impartial verdict. James Sultan, one of the defense attorneys, told jurors in closing arguments: "Why have a trial at all if someone can be tried, and for that matter convicted, in the media? What's the point? We may as well just close down this courthouse and every other courthouse in America. Put a sign on the door. Out of business. And while we're at it, we may as well flush our Constitution down the drain."

Hernandez, 25, who is currently being held without bail, is accused of murder in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was dating his fiancee's sister, and for unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. He entered a not guilty plea before the court. He was released by the New England Patriots right after his initial arrest.

Cusanelli, a photographer and editor for Channel 7 News in Boston, on questioning told the judge that he knew it would be "good information to have the location where the jurors were getting on and off the bus." Jurors park off-site and are transported to and from court by bus. Two of the 15 jurors told the judge that they saw someone watching them in a Ford Explorer. One of them took a picture of its license plate.

Garsh said that Cusanelli "by being in that spot where there were jurors in a broad fashion came into contact with those jurors." She thus banned him from the courthouse, but not his network. The judge said: "He cannot come into this building or be driving a WHDH vehicle for the purpose of doing reporting work on this case." 

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