Court rules videos inadmissible in Kraft case
Video footage that purportedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft engaging in an illegal sex act can’t be admitted as evidence against him, a Florida appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The prosecution had challenged a ruling by a lower court that the videos taken at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., were inadmissible.
Kraft was one of 24 men charged with soliciting prostitution at the spa. Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two counts of soliciting, which allegedly occurred in January 2019.
“We find the trial courts properly concluded that the criminal defendants had standing to challenge the video surveillance and that total suppression of the video recordings was constitutionally warranted,” read the ruling from Florida’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
The court said that law enforcement didn’t have the right to film customers inside a business as part of an investigation.
“The act of video surveillance itself is perhaps the most intrusive form of electronic law enforcement spying,” the court said.
However, a judge had signed off on what’s known as a “sneak and peek” warrant to allow cameras to be installed secretly at the Florida day spa, which was under investigation for allegedly serving as a cover for prostitution.
The videos were the key pieces of evidence against Kraft, the 79-year-old billionaire who also owns the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.
Kraft’s trial was postponed indefinitely in May to allow for the appeal to be heard.
Should prosecutors eventually decide to drop the charges, Kraft still could be subject to discipline from the NFL.
–Field Level Media