Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment Thursday, ESPN's Michele Steele reports. Hernandez was charged with first degree murder and multiple firearms charges in connection with the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd this past June.
"In a sense this is like the opening kickoff ... we have confidence Aaron will be exonerated," Rankin said. "We encourage everyone to keep an open mind. Not one shred of evidence has been presented yet."
The arraignment began at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday with members of Lloyd's family in attendance as well as Hernandez's mother and fiancee. One man in attendance who wasn't a family member sat in the back of the court room and wore Hernandez's No. 81 jersey in support.
Hernandez has maintained his innocence in the months since Lloyd's body was discovered less than a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass. He is alleged to have carried out the murder with two other men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz.
According to ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack, a trial is at least one year away.