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September 30, 2014

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Hernandez cousin to plead to contempt charge

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Steven Senne / AP

In this Tuesday, June 24, 2014, photo, former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez looks toward defense attorneys James Sultan and Charlie Rankin during a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Hernandez is charged in the 2012 shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after an encounter at a Boston nightclub.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A cousin of ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was expected to plead guilty to a criminal contempt charge filed after she refused to testify against him before a grand jury.

Prosecutors have said they would seek two years' probation and home confinement on Tuesday for Tanya Singleton, 38, of Bristol, Connecticut, who has been undergoing treatment for a recurrence of breast cancer.

Singleton's attorney, E. Peter Parker, said last week that additional incarceration would likely hasten her death from cancer, which had been in remission but has returned and spread. She spent 196 days in jail before posting bail earlier this year.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd of Boston, whose body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Singleton refused to testify despite being given immunity by prosecutors. That put her "at an emotionally supercharged crossroads where the strong and unbreakable bonds of family clashed with society's need for evidence," Parker said in a filing. "She chose family."

But in their new sentencing memorandum, prosecutors describe Singleton's defiance as deliberate and designed to thwart the investigation.

"This type of response does not stem from familial love, but instead uses the common understanding of family as a cynical justification for lawlessness," prosecutors wrote, adding that Hernandez had repeatedly provided her money.

Prosecutors said they normally recommend prison time but couldn't show, as the judge ordered they must, that Singleton would be able to access the same medical treatment her doctors recommended if she were incarcerated.

In their memo, they said Singleton has material information about Hernandez and the movements of his friends Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, who both pleaded not guilty to murder and accessory charges in the Lloyd killing.

Singleton also has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit accessory after the fact, for allegedly helping Wallace to flee.

Hernandez, 24, also has pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of two men in Boston.

Singleton also refused to testify in the Boston case and is facing another contempt charge to which she intends to plead guilty.

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