Lawsuit seeks to block New England Patriots from paying Hernandez bonus if he wins appeal

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An attorney in a wrongful-death lawsuit against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez wants to keep the team from paying him a $3.25 million contract signing bonus if he wins a union appeal.

Attorney William Kennedy added the Patriots and the team owner's company Kraft Enterprises LLC as co-defendants in a $6 million lawsuit for the estates of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, whom Hernandez is accused of killing, the Boston Herald reported Thursday ( ).

Prosecutors say Hernandez ambushed and gunned down the men after a chance encounter inside a nightclub weeks before he signed a five-year, $40 million contract and went on to catch 51 passes and score five touchdowns during the 2012 NFL season. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the men's slayings.

Kennedy also seeks to freeze Hernandez's assets, which his attorneys oppose. A Patriots spokesman declined to comment.

Similar steps were taken in a lawsuit by the family of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial area near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough and whom Hernandez denied killing in 2013. The Patriots have agreed in that case to notify the court before paying Hernandez.

The Patriots released Hernandez after his arrest in the Lloyd case last year.

De Abreu and Furtado were close friends who attended school and served in the military together in Cape Verde before coming to the United States, Kennedy said. After they left the Cure Lounge nightclub, Hernandez followed in an SUV, pulled out a gun and shot them at a red light, prosecutors said.

The case remained unsolved for months, but following Lloyd's killing the SUV was found in Bristol, Connecticut, where Hernandez grew up, and the gun was recovered from a person with ties to Hernandez, prosecutors said.

Hernandez is looking forward to his day in court, his attorneys have said.