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Rolling Stone writer: Hernandez will be acquitted, return to NFL

Aaron Hernandez Court Appearance

NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA - AUGUST 22: Aaron Hernandez sits in the courtroom of the Attleboro District Court during his hearing on August 22, 2013 in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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The author of the much-discussed Rolling Stone profile of Aaron Hernandez believes that prosecutors lack the evidence to convict him of first-degree murder, and that Hernandez will eventually return to the NFL.

Rolling Stone contributing editor Paul Solotaroff said on the Doug Gottlieb Show that he doubts prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernandez murdered Odin Lloyd.

“I think [the case] is not only beatable, I think he will be back in the NFL within three or four years,” Solotaroff said. “I think they’ve grossly overcharged him based on the case they’re building – no direct eye witness, no murder weapon, no plausible motive.”

Solotaroff wrote a fine magazine story about Hernandez, but he seems to be going beyond the purview of his own reporting when he suggests that the prosecution’s case is weak. In his own magazine piece, Solotaroff lays out much of the case: Text messages confirm that Lloyd told his sister that he was with Hernandez, in a manner that suggested he was scared of what Hernandez might do to him, just before Lloyd was killed. Security cameras showed a heated exchange between Hernandez and Lloyd. Hernandez’s own home security footage shows him ranting and raving about how you can’t trust anyone after his exchange with Lloyd, and shows him holding the kind of gun that prosecutors say was used to kill Lloyd. Tire tracks near Lloyd’s body match the tires of the rental car Hernandez was driving.

As for the lack of an eye witness, one of the two people who was with Hernandez and Lloyd on the night Lloyd was killed, Carlos Ortiz, has reportedly cooperated extensively with police. That cooperation apparently stops short of saying that Ortiz actually saw Hernandez kill Lloyd, as Ortiz claims he stayed in the car when the shooting happened. But Ortiz reportedly told police that the other man who was with them that night, Ernest Wallace, left the car they were in with Hernandez and Lloyd, that shots were fired, and that when Hernandez and Wallace returned, Wallace told Ortiz that Hernandez shot Lloyd.

Solotaroff does believe that prosecutors have enough enough evidence to convict Hernandez of weapons charges that could put him in prison for three years. So even Solotaroff doesn’t think Hernandez is going to be a free man soon. But Solotaroff is a whole lot more optimistic about Hernandez’s future than most people who have looked at the case.