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Hernandez’s lawyer: Family is donating his brain for CTE research, has no confidence in medical examiner

BOSTON — Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer is accusing Massachusetts‘ chief medical examiner of “illegally” holding the brain of the ex-NFL star who was found hung in his prison cell.

Jose Baez told reporters Thursday that Hernandez’s family had arranged for Boston University to study the former New England Patriots tight end’s brain as part of its concussion research.

Baez said the family wanted to donate Hernandez’s brain for the concussion research in order to help younger men who decide to play football.

“The family of Aaron Hernandez has decided to donate Aaron’s brain to the study so that we can possibly help other young men who decide to play football and to help further that cause,” said Baez. “And also possibly shed light and more evidence on this case.”

The medical examiner released Hernandez’s body to a funeral home earlier Thursday. But Baez said the office has not returned the brain.

He said the family will go to court if necessary and that it will be seeking an independent autopsy. The medical examiner’s office didn’t immediately comment on the brain dispute and hasn’t released the results of its autopsy.

Hernandez, who was already serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, was acquitted on April 14, in a 2012 double slaying prosecutors said was fueled by his anger over a drink spilled at a nightclub.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts prison officials said former NFL star Aaron Hernandez hung himself in his cell and was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was 27.