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Survivor identifies Hernandez as shooter in 2012 deadly drive-by shooting

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BOSTON — A man who survived a deadly 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston identified former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in court on Tuesday as the one who pulled the trigger.

The judge presiding over the upcoming murder trial also denied a bid by Hernandez’s lawyer to push back the February start.

Prosecutors asked Raychides Sanches during Tuesday’s pretrial hearing to describe the chaotic scene the night of July 16, 2012.

Sanches said he had been a passenger in a car stopped at a light in the city’s South End when an SUV pulled up. He said someone from the SUV said “What’s up, negroes?” and then gunfire erupted.

Sanches said bullets struck 29-year-old Daniel de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Furtado.

When asked who the shooter was, Sanches nodded in the direction of Hernandez in Suffolk Superior Court, the Boston Herald reported.

“Looked like him,” he said. “Hernandez.”

Another survivor of the shooting, Aquilino Freire, told the court he was shot twice and described the shooter as light skinned, with no beard but tattoos.

Hernandez faces two counts of murder in the deaths of Furtado and de Abreu.

Prosecutors say he gunned down the two men after one of them bumped into him at a Boston nightclub earlier that night. The former tight end has pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez already is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2013 shooting death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.

Tuesday’s hearing focused on a number of pre-trial issues as jury selection is slated to begin Feb. 13.

Prosecutors are asking the judge to allow Sanches and Freire to give a general description of the shooter during trial.

Defense lawyers argued that attorney-client privilege may have been violated because prison officials have acknowledged Hernandez’s jailhouse calls were accessed by unauthorized people while he was awaiting his first murder trial.

Hernandez is due back in court for another hearing Dec. 27.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip

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HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback

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HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

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