WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS) — A judge ruled Wednesday that video allegedly showing Robert Kraft and other men engaging in sex acts at a Florida massage parlor cannot be released before a hearing later this month. The decision came after prosecutors said they planned to release the video, and Kraft’s attorneys filed an emergency motion to block it.
“It’s a shocking development, so to speak, in a case that has had a lot of shocking developments,” said WBZ legal analyst Phil Tracy.
Kraft is facing prostitution charges following a large bust at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Police say Kraft was captured on camera paying for sex acts twice during the weekend of the AFC Championship Game in late January.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said in a filing Wednesday that it is obligated to release the video to the public and media now, and can’t wait for a judge to rule if it should be kept under seal. Prosecutors said they would be releasing the video in relation to their case against Lei Wang, the manager of the spa.
“The Public Records Act does not allow a custodian to delay the production of records to allow the resolution of a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents,” the state argued.
Just over an hour later, Kraft’s attorneys filed the emergency motion. According the filing, prosecutors are contradicting what they told a judge last week.
Kraft’s filing calls it the prosecution’s “latest ruse.” Releasing the videos, they argue, “would amount to a ‘cat-out-of-the-bag’ scenario that thereafter precludes judicial remedy (as the prosecution no doubt is banking on).”
“… releasing the Videos would violate Mr. Kraft’s constitutional rights if disseminated, and Mr. Kraft has an obvious and profound stake in any potential disclosure of the sensitive materials at issue, which, among other things, depict him naked, and should therefore be permitted to intervene for the sake of protecting his interests and informing this Court’s decision,” Kraft’s defense argued.
Wang and Hua Zhang, the owner of the spa, have pleaded not guilty to charges that include prostitution. Kraft also pleaded not guilty in the case.
In addition to Kraft’s motion, Wang and Zhang also filed an emergency motion to block the videos. A John Doe moved to intervene as well, claiming he lawfully received a massage and was recorded.
During a Wednesday afternoon hearing, a judge scheduled a hearing for April 29 and ordered no video be released before then. The judge denied a motion by Kraft and the John Doe to intervene in Wang’s case, saying they do not have standing.
Attorney Phil Tracy says Kraft doesn’t want the video released for two reasons. “It could hurt his chances for a fair trial and also because he believes that the warrant was insufficient in its underpinnings in order to get the warrant,” Tracy said.
Kraft defense attorney William Burck told a judge last week in a hearing about the status of the video, “It’s basically pornography,” adding “Why would anyone need to see that kind of material. . . the world to see it, especially when it’s described in painstaking detail by the affidavit?”
The video will be pixelated when released, prosecutors said in their filing Wednesday.
“It is the practice of the Office of the State Attorney to pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order,” they wrote.
There has been no comment yet from Kraft or his attorneys.
Tracy said if he was Kraft’s lawyer, he would be trying to find a quick resolution to the case. “I’d give a great big donation, lots of money, millions of dollars to fight human trafficking, get this over with and get an end as quickly as possible,” Tracy said.