Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey was subpoenaed by a Massachusetts grand jury on Sunday in a case involving former University of Florida teammate and alleged murderer Aaron Hernandez.
According to Sports Illustrated, Pouncey was served the subpoena after the Dolphins lost to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, allowing the Massachusetts grand jury to legally deliver the court summons in its home state.
What are Pouncey's options now that he's been pulled into Hernandez's murder case?
Not Charged, but Still Must Appear
To be clear, Pouncey has not yet been charged with any crimes, and the grand jury subpoena is simply a request to appear before the grand jury to answer questions and produce certain documents.
That isn't to say that a grand jury subpoena is to be taken lightly. If Pouncey refuses to appear before the grand jury and ignores the subpoena, he could be held in contempt of court, which could mean actual jail time.
SI reports that the grand jury may ask Pouncey about bank records or any emails sent to or related to Hernandez, as the prosecution is still searching for evidence to cement gun and murder charges against the ex-NFL star.
Even if Pouncey wants to legally object to the subpoena, he (and hopefully an attorney) would have to appear in court in order to challenge the grand jury's request -- called a motion to quash the subpoena.
What If Pouncey Testifies?
Although legal challenges to the subpoena are possible, it is more likely that Pouncey will appear as requested and testify before the grand jury.
Pouncey may bring his lawyer with him to these grand jury proceedings, but there will be no objections to questions allowed in the secret hearing -- there is also no judge, just a prosecutor.
Anything that Pouncey offers to the grand jury may end up strengthening the state's case against Hernandez, but it may also lead to criminal charges against Pouncey if there is evidence he was involved in the alleged murder.
For this reason, Pouncey may choose to invoke his Fifth Amendment right -- or "plead the Fifth" -- and choose not to answer any question that may incriminate him. However, prosecutors could potentially offer the Dolphins player immunity from prosecution if he agrees to testify to any details of Hernandez's crime.
It is currently unclear what, if anything, Mike Pouncey has to offer in the Hernandez case. But as SI reports, his wearing a "Free Hernandez" hat in public couldn't possibly have helped him.