Kraft’s Attorneys Seek to Block Use of Spa Video
JUPITER, Fla.— Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert
Kraft want a Florida judge to block prosecutors from using secretly
taken video that police say shows him engaging in paid sex acts
with female massage parlor employees.
In court documents filed Thursday, Kraft's attorneys challenged the
warrant allowing Jupiter police officers to hide video cameras in
the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Kraft attorney Jack Goldberger wrote that police ''deliberately
misrepresented'' facts used to get a judge to approve their search
warrant. The cameras were installed in January after officers used
an undisclosed ruse to gain access to the spa. They then used the
cameras to monitor employees and customers over several days.
Jupiter was part of a multi-county investigation of massage parlor
prostitution and possible human trafficking that resulted in the
arrests of about 300 men and the closure of 10 spas. The spa owners
have been charged with felonies.
Goldberger wrote that the alleged traffic violations the Jupiter
officers used to stop men as they left the spa and interview them
about what happened in the spa were faked, and officers' didn't
accurately depict what a health inspector found when they sent her
in to examine the spa.
He also said officers had not exhausted less-invasive means of
investigating the spa, and Florida law says audio surveillance such
as wiretaps should only be used for serious felonies such as murder
or kidnapping and does not list prostitution.
Kraft, 77, is accused of paying for sex acts at the spa twice in
January. He has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor solicitation of
prostitution, but issued an apology last weekend, saying he had
disappointed his family, friends, co-workers, fans ''and many
others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.''
Kraft said he has ''extraordinary respect for women,'' adding that
his morals were shaped by his late wife, who died in 2011.
Jupiter police and the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office
did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.
Attorney David S. Weinstein, a Miami defense lawyer and former
prosecutor who is not involved in the case said such a motion is
''exactly what he would expect'' from Kraft's attorneys and the
others. He said it's hard to predict the defense's chances of
prevailing without knowing the prosecution's counterarguments and
what is presented at a future hearing.
But even if the defense gets the video recordings thrown out, the
judge might still allow police to testify about what they saw on
the video and the other evidence collected, and the case would go
According to police records, Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was
chauffeured to the Orchids of Asia spa on the evening of Jan. 19,
where officers secretly recorded him engaging in a sex act and then
handing over an undetermined amount of cash.
Investigators said Kraft returned 17 hours later and was again
videotaped engaging in sex acts before paying with a $100 bill and
another bill, police said.
Hours later, he was in Kansas City for the AFC Championship game,
where his Patriots defeated the Chiefs. His team then won the Super
Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots' sixth NFL championship under his
Prosecutors have offered to drop the charges if Kraft and the other
men enter a diversion program for first-time offenders. That would
include an admission they would be found guilty if their case went
to trial, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and
attendance in a class on the dangers of prostitution and its
connection to human trafficking. They would also have to make a
court appearance and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Prosecutors say the fine and community service are required by law
and are not negotiable.
Kraft's attorneys have not spoken about the offer, but other men's
attorneys have said it is harsher than typically given for
first-time offenders in Palm Beach County. Fines and community
service terms are usually smaller and no court appearance is
required, they said.
Weinstein said the attorneys might be hoping the challenge of the
warrant will cause prosecutors to soften their proposed deal. If
not, he said such pretrial challenges could stretch the case out
for months if not a year.