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August 5, 2013

TMZ Reportedly Paid $18,000 For Aaron Hernandez Jail Letter

by Jared

Aaron Hernandez apparently thought he could trust a fan he was exchanging mail with while in prison, but he was wrong. Last week, a copy of a letter Hernandez sent to a fan proclaiming his innocence appeared on TMZ and went viral. But how did they get their hands on it?

According to CBS Boston, a sports memorabilia shop called Sportsworld in Saugus, Mass. first bought the letter from a fan for $4,500. Jail officials reportedly later confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which Sportsworld owner Phil Castinetti turned around and sold to TMZ for $18,000.

“It was kind of eerie, knowing you have a letter that Hernandez had just written,” Castinetti told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 on Friday. “You read all the crazy things he’s been accused of, so it’s just a little weird.”

Prior to TMZ allegedly confirming with jail officials that the letter was authentic, Castinetti says he made sure the autograph at the bottom of the message was real.

“I’ve been in the business for almost 30 years and authenticating autographs is one of the things I do the most,” he said. “It was pretty easy; he has a distinct signature and it would be impossible for someone to copy it the way it’s done. It’s pretty easy to tell. I’m 100-percent positive it’s real.”

Castinetti’s assertion that he received $18,000 for the letter is consistent with a blog post from Barstool Sports earlier in the week. Barstool owner David Portnoy claimed the letter was offered to him for $20,000, and hours later it appeared on TMZ’s website. Castinetti said he thinks it could be worth “serious money” if Hernandez is found guilty because of the things he wrote.

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