WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS/AP) – After winning the legal battle to block prosecutors from using massage parlor video in court, Robert Kraft’s lawyers are now seeking to keep footage that allegedly shows the Patriots owner engaging in sexual acts out of the public eye forever.
A motion filed by the defense Monday evening asks a judge to rule that Florida is “permanently prohibited from releasing the same videos that it had no legal basis to obtain, much less to retain and release.”
The defense says prosecutors may drop the prostitution solicitation charges against Kraft and then release the video.
“Permitting the State to drop the charges so that it can release the illegally obtained Videos would enable the media to serve as an illicit instrument of law enforcement by putting wrongfully obtained materials to their most damaging possible use in the public arena, thereby doing damage far surpassing any possible misdemeanor conviction,” the motion states.
The defense filing came immediately after Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that Jupiter police detectives and the judge who issued the search warrant allowing the secret installation of cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of other customers, some of whom only received legal massages.
It’s a major blow to the prosecution, says WBZ legal analyst Jennifer Roman.
“The prosecution is really going to lick its wounds right now,” Roman said. “The evidence was gotten in an illegal way, and as a result, everything that flowed from that evidence gets suppressed or pushed down so that it can’t come to court.”
It’s not yet known if the state will appeal the decision.
Hanser had already ruled that the Kraft videos cannot be released publicly until his trial is underway or the case is settled or dismissed.
NFL officials have said they are watching the case, but have not disciplined Kraft. Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.
According to police records, Kraft, a widower 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 with two women and then handing over an undetermined amount of cash.
Investigators said Kraft returned 17 hours later and was again videotaped engaging in sex acts with a woman 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 ownership.
Prosecutors have offered to drop the charges if Kraft enters a diversion program for first-time offenders, as some others charged have. That would include an admission he would be found guilty if the 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.
Hanser has ordered Kraft to appear in court for a May 21 pretrial hearing. A status conference for the case is scheduled for Friday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)