It’s been less than a year since the country was shocked by the news that NFL pro-turned-convict Aaron Hernandez committed suicide while serving a life sentence. As the nation watched as additional dramatic details about the case poured in, there wasn’t anyone more surprised than Jose Baez, famed defense attorney who became one of Aaron’s closest confidantes and biggest supporters.
In an exclusive interview with In Touch Weekly, the oft-controversial lawyer revealed that when he spoke to Aaron hours before he took his own life, the late 27-year-old “could not have been more excited and happier” as they were entering the early stages of appealing the murder conviction against Aaron. He was then met with a flurry of rumors and misinformation, including what has become perhaps the most common rumor about Aaron’s passing — which is that Aaron was gay and had a secret prison lover while behind bars in the mens’ correctional center.
“The individual was never mentioned to me or anyone else,” Baez, who worked closely with Aaron’s loved ones for an upcoming, four-part docu-series called Aaron Hernandez Uncovered told In Touch exclusively. “I’m shocked more prisoners haven’t come forward. This is a convict who was in the same prison as someone incredibly famous, and the whole world was talking about it. The biggest shock to me wasn’t that he came forward with the story, but that more didn’t and try to make money. [The self-proclaimed prison lover’s] attorney has mentioned that he’s available for interviews — and I think we all know what that means.”
Baez explained to In Touch that he first got involved with Oxygen, who is putting out the four-part series, in an effort to get the truth about the Aaron he knew out there — especially for the late athlete's four-year-old daughter, who will one day be old enough to read about her father's case. “When I started seeing all these reports come out about Aaron after his passing, that his four-year-old daughter is going to read one day, I really felt some responsibility to step forward and say, ‘What a minute. That was not Aaron Hernandez,’” Baez explained. “I think it’s who the real Aaron Hernandez was and more importantly, the facts, because the facts are so different from what gets reported out there.”
Particularly, Baez pointed to the double homicide trial — for which Aaron was acquitted of shortly before his death — as a point of contention when it comes to the facts getting lost in the media. “People report that he was acquitted of the double homicide in Boston and that he may have gotten away with something there,” he said. “People don’t report that that there were three eyewitnesses that placed him away from the scene at a different place… People don’t report that there was not a shred of physical or forensic evidence that tied Aaron Hernandez to that shooting. What they don’t report is that a person testified to — who is a convicted drug dealer, who is an admitted drug dealer, who could have stood trial for that case for murder, but was given a deal; who is currently serving time for emptying out a gun into a crowded nightclub. That’s what needs to be reported and pointed out, not that Aaron Hernandez was responsible because it was clear to everyone that paid attention that he did not do it.”
With the premiere of Aaron Hernandez Uncovered, Baez explained that he hopes that all people will get “the rest of the story” by watching the docu-series — rather than the sensational sound-bytes, or promulgated storylines. “Everyone’s seen one-hour specials and it’s always the same story. This series has dedicated four hours to telling the same things — and another side,” he explained. “You get to hear the other side and draw your own conclusions as to who Aaron Hernandez was and what he was all about.”
He concluded, “This story can’t be told in 42 minutes air time. You just can’t. It’s impossible.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Aaron Hernandez Uncovered premieres on Oxygen tomorrow, March 17, at 7 p.m. EST.