Commentary

Aaron Hernandez: Legal implications

What exactly does an arrest warrant mean for New England Patriots tight end?

Originally Published: June 21, 2013
By Lester Munson | ESPN

Editor's note: Massachusetts State Police are expected to execute an arrest warrant for New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for obstruction of justice in connection with a homicide investigation, sources tell ABC News. ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson explains the implications of the news on Hernandez and the investigation.

With an investigation pending, any tampering with evidence or destruction of evidence is a crime. Aaron Hernandez obviously knew the investigation was underway with him as a possible target.

He had hired a lawyer, Michael Fee of Ropes & Gray, one of America's greatest and most expensive law firms. If Hernandez attempted to destroy the cellphone and video home security system, that would clearly fall into the category of destruction of evidence. The obstruction of justice charge is based on these alleged actions by Hernandez. The use of the cleaning service in his house also would qualify as tampering with evidence. It is similar to telling a witness to lie.

If Hernandez has spoken with others who were out Sunday night and Monday morning with him and Odin Lloyd and told them what to say, that also would be obstruction of justice. It may also be called subornation of perjury, attempting to persuade someone to lie for you.

These alleged actions by Hernandez would be breathtakingly stupid and are undoubtedly contrary to the advice he would receive from his attorney. This warrant does not stop the murder investigation. If anything, it increases the momentum of the murder probe.

Only the most aggressive of prosecutors would insist on a raid to arrest Hernandez and drag him into a courthouse or a jail. It would be a grandstand play. It does happen, but I do not expect it today. It is likely that his lawyer has arranged for Hernandez to surrender and to post bond today.

Hernandez probably will show up in some court building, surrender and walk out on bail.