No gag order was issued Wednesday in the murder case filed against former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
Hernandez's lawyers had requested the gag order. Judge Susan Garsh said Wednesday in Fall River (Mass.) Superior Court that, for now, she believes the professional conduct standards will suffice. But she also acknowledged just how much interest there is in the case, which has drawn national attention.
"Significant continued publicity appears to be inevitable," Garsh said.
Garsh also reserved the right to change her mind later.
Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder and a slew of weapons charges in the death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player from the Boston area.
Prosecutors say Hernandez and two other men drove with Lloyd on June 17 to a North Attleboro industrial park, where Lloyd was shot multiple times and left for dead.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. He is being held in a Bristol County jail without bail.
Also discussed at Wednesday's hearing:
» Prosecutors asked for Garsh to be recused. The request will be handled later this year.
» Hernandez took the stand to acknowledge his awareness that a lawyer at his defense attorney's firm is married to a prosecutor. Hernandez said he was OK with that.
Prosecutors say Hernandez killed Lloyd because Hernandez was mad at him for something that happened a few days earlier, when Lloyd talked to people at a Boston nightclub with whom Hernandez had problems.
Two other men also were with Hernandez that night, prosecutors say, but only Hernandez is charged with murder. Ernest Wallace and Carlos Oritz both have been indicted on accessory to murder after the fact.
Also charged as part of the investigation: A cousin of Hernandez, Tanya Singleton, was indicted on a conspiracy charge, and Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, was indicted on one count of perjury.
The Patriots released Hernandez hours before the murder charge was announced.