Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified that Aaron Hernandez told him he was innocent when asked whether he was involved in the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Kraft spent a little more than a half hour on the stand Tuesday at the Fall River Justice Center after he was called by the prosecution in Hernandez's murder trial.
Hernandez is charged with the June 17, 2013, slaying of Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. The trial, which began Jan. 29 and initially was estimated to last six to 10 weeks, is expected to wrap up next week, according to lawyers from both sides.
The defense intends to call only one witness and is expected to rest on Monday. At this point, the defense is expected to call a DNA expert from Cellmark Forensics in Dallas to testify. The parent/predecessor company of Cellmark was used successfully by O.J. Simpson's legal team to help exonerate him in his 1995 double-murder trial.
Kraft was asked about the events of June 19, which was two days after the killing. By then, Kraft said, there was a strong media presence at Gillette Stadium, including helicopters, covering the investigation.
Kraft said he found Hernandez in a weight room working out and pulled him into an adjacent office for a private talk.
"I understood there was an incident that had transpired, and I wanted to know whether he was involved, and if he was -- any player that comes into our system, I consider part of our extended family, and I wanted to get him help," Kraft said.
"What did he say?" prosecutor William McCauley asked.
"He said he was not involved," Kraft replied. "That he was innocent and that he hoped that the time of the murder incident came out because he said he was in a club."
Prosecutors have said Hernandez was at a bar earlier in the evening, then drove to Boston with two friends, picked up Lloyd and killed him in an industrial park.
Kraft said his conversation with Hernandez lasted five to 10 minutes. Later, he saw him one last time at the stadium.
"He hugged and kissed me and thanked me for my concern," Kraft said.
Kraft at times seemed uncomfortable on the stand, even when he was asked where he worked. He first said 1 Patriot Place, the address of Gillette Stadium. When asked what he did at work, he replied, "Whatever they ask me to do."
Then, asked if he ran a business, he replied: "We're a packaging and paper business and private equity, and we have two sports teams." He first listed the New England Revolution soccer team, then the Patriots.
Hernandez signed a $40 million contract with the Patriots in 2012, but as defense lawyer Michael Fee questioned him, Kraft said he couldn't remember whether it ran through the 2018 season.
"I don't get into the details. I just knew we signed him," he said, adding that Hernandez was signed because he was "a very good player."
Hernandez watched closely during Kraft's testimony.
As he left the courthouse, Kraft was heard saying, "It's very sad." He was later asked whether he sympathized for Lloyd's family.
"Yes," Kraft told reporters. "A man died."
McCauley named for the judge just a handful of additional witnesses to call and said he expected to rest Thursday. He did not name any other members of the Patriots organization or anyone affiliated with the NFL. That likely means that Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Miami Dolphins player Mike Pouncey and others listed as potential witnesses will not be called.
Next to take the stand was the Patriots' director of security, Mark Briggs. He said he also had a conversation with Hernandez on June 19.
"I asked him why he'd lawyered up," he said.
The judge struck the comment from the record and instructed the jury that citizens do not have any obligation to speak with police.
Briggs said Hernandez told him that he had been with Lloyd at a club and they went their separate ways, so Hernandez gave him keys to a vehicle. He told him those keys were found in Lloyd's pocket, Briggs said.
Investigators did find keys to an SUV Hernandez rented in Lloyd's pocket.
Briggs said he asked Hernandez whether he was involved in Lloyd's killing, and Hernandez replied no. Briggs said he then looked in Hernandez's eyes and asked whether he was telling the truth.
"He swore on his baby's life that he was telling the truth," Briggs said.
Briggs said the next day, Hernandez showed up at Gillette Stadium, and Briggs asked him to leave, which Hernandez did.
"You asked him to leave the stadium because his presence there was bad for business?" Fee asked.
"That is correct," Briggs replied.
Hernandez was arrested June 26 in Lloyd's slaying. Less than two hours later, he was cut from the team.
ESPN's Michele Steele and The Associated Press contributed to this report.