BOSTON — A judge Tuesday scheduled a tentative May trial date for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men, and his lawyers asked a judge to issue a gag order because of intense media coverage of the case.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after a nightclub encounter in Boston. During a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court, Hernandez’s lawyers asked Judge Jeffrey Locke to issue a gag order prohibiting anyone involved in the case from commenting outside court.

Attorney James Sultan said the defense is concerned that Hernandez can’t get a fair trial because of extensive media coverage of his indictment in the double slayings and another murder case against Hernandez in the 2013 death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.

“I think it’s incumbent upon all of us ... to do whatever we can to safeguard Mr. Hernandez’s constitutional right to a fair trial and a jury that has not been poisoned by unfairly prejudicial pretrial publicity,” Sultan said. He argued that a judge in Bristol County, where Hernandez is charged with killing Lloyd, issued a gag order in that case.

Prosecutors opposed the request. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan called a gag order “unreasonable” and “unwarranted,” and said it not the usual practice in Suffolk County.

The judge took the request under advisement and did not indicate when he would rule. Hernandez is due back in court Aug. 14.



Johnny Manziel was “drafted” by the Harlem Globetrotters, who picked the Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback as part of their eighth annual selection of world-class athletes.

Earlier this month, Manziel was drafted by baseball’s San Diego Padres, who used one of their late picks on the former Heisman Trophy winner. He was taken in the first round by the Browns in May.

The Globetrotters also selected U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan, who was left off this year’s World Cup roster.

Around the league

Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, the lone returning starter on the Dolphins offensive line, is expected to miss the start of the season while recovering from hip surgery. Pouncey also faces a possible suspension from the NFL; he’s the only player implicated in last year’s bullying scandal still on the roster. ... Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson, a second-round pick out of Penn State, signed a four-year rookie contract worth $3.5 million.