Credit: The Associated Press
FILE – In this March 15, 2017 file photo, Jose Baez, defense lawyer for defendant Aaron Hernandez, left, holds an evidence photo as he speaks to the jury during Hernandez’s double-murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Baez won an acquittal for Hernandez, and for Casey Anthony in 2011 in the death of her toddler. (AP Photo/Elize Amendola, Pool, File)
Jose Baez: Aaron Hernandez acquittal burnishes lawyer’s reputation
Associated Press Sunday, April 30, 2017
BOSTON — During Aaron Hernandez’s double murder trial, the former NFL star’s lawyer wanted to drive home his point that the prosecution’s star witness was a “three-legged pony” whose testimony could not be believed. So he galloped like a horse in front of the jury.
It was vintage Jose Baez: flashy, theatrical and willing to do anything for his clients.
With Hernandez’s acquittal, Baez burnished his status as one of the most recognized defense lawyers in the U.S., six years after his high-profile gig successfully defending Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her toddler because she didn’t want the responsibility of raising a child.
His no-holds-barred style has won him both praise and scorn.
Prosecutors who have gone up against Baez say there is nothing he won’t do to win, while defense lawyers who have worked with call him a brilliant strategist who rips open holes in the prosecution’s case.
“If you were ever in trouble, you would want Jose Baez by your side,” said Linda Kenney Baden, who represented music producer Phil Spector in his 2007 murder trial and has worked with Baez on three cases, including the Anthony and Hernandez trials.
The Anthony and Hernandez cases initially seemed like slam dunks for prosecutors.
Anthony had repeatedly lied to the police, and witnesses said they smelled a dead body in her car trunk. But Baez hammered at a hole in the prosecution’s case — uncertainty about how the little girl died — and raised doubt among jurors.