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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft are listed as possible witnesses by prosecutors in the upcoming murder trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
In court papers released Monday, Hernandez's lawyers asked a judge to order prosecutors to pare down their list of more than 300 witnesses. Hernandez is charged in the 2013 killing of semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough.
Hernandez's lawyers argued that it is "inconceivable" that prosecutors will call each of the 305 people on their witness list and asked a judge to order them to reduce the list to people they actually intend to call during the trial, which is scheduled to begin in January in Fall River.
Judge E. Susan Garsh denied the motion, but she urged the parties to pare down the list "to the extent practical to avoid an unnecessarily protracted trial."
Belichick and Kraft were interviewed by police investigating Lloyd's killing, according to court documents filed earlier in the case. An attorney for the Patriots said in July that 34 text messages between Belichick and Hernandez were given to prosecutors.
The listing of their names does not necessarily mean they will testify. Witness lists include the names of all potential witnesses.
Prosecutors also list Hernandez's mother, Terri Hernandez; his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins; and former Patriots teammate Brandon Spikes, now with the Buffalo Bills, as potential witnesses.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killing of Lloyd, who was dating Jenkins' sister. Prosecutors say Lloyd was shot after getting into a car with Hernandez and two other men, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace. They have also pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
A spokesman for Bristol County prosecutors declined to comment.
In an e-mail attached to the defense motion, Bristol Assistant District Attorney William McCauley wrote to Hernandez attorney James Sultan that the witness list was "made in good faith." McCauley said the list could be reduced if both sides agree on facts that are uncontested.
"I am open to such a discussion to narrow the witness list and shorten the time to try this case," McCauley wrote.
Hernandez also has pleaded not guilty in the 2012 fatal shootings of two men after a chance encounter at a Boston nightclub.
In a separate filing released Monday, Hernandez's lawyers asked the judge to order prosecutors to return "unlawfully seized property," including three iPads and two cell phones that were seized by police but later prohibited from being introduced as evidence, a Hummer automobile seized after a search of Hernandez's apartment in Franklin, and a white towel taken from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough.
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