PROSECUTORS APPEAL RULING BARRING SURVEILLANCE VIDEOS OF ROBERT KRAFT’S DAY SPA VISIT AS EVIDENCE
October 3, 2019
Prosecutors in the state of Florida filed a formal appeal on Tuesday to bring back surveillance videos of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the TC Palm reported.
In April, Judge Leonard Hanser issued a temporary protective order preventing media from getting the tapes. The following month, Hanser threw out the footage as evidence in the trial, dealing a blow to prosecutors. He ruled that police didn’t meet the guidelines of a “sneak-and-peak” search warrant, which was used to install hidden cameras in the spa as part of an investigation into alleged human trafficking.
Kraft is charged with two misdemeanor counts of solicitation of prostitution. Police said in January he visited the spa twice and paid for sex acts. He has pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.
"Based on video captured by surveillance cameras police installed in the spa pursuant to a warrant, Mr. Kraft’s guilt is a virtual certainty," the state said in its appeal, per TC Palm.
The state attorney’s office stated it would appeal in July. A decision could take months.
Kraft is one of nearly 100 spa clients charged with misdemeanors in the sting. In throwing out the tape, Hanser said officers failed to “minimize the recording of activities not related to crimes under investigation” as required by law, per CNBC. The officers recorded and intermittently checked in on “innocent women and men” at the spa for massages and not found to be involved in illegal activity.
The video evidence is being fought in court in several of the cases. Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer representing some of the customers, told CNBC there are “a ton” of Fourth Amendment violations. The court disagreed with this use in Kraft’s case.
"A county court judge has now suppressed these videos, citing an alleged failure by police to 'minimize' the intrusion — not into Mr. Kraft’s own Fourth Amendment rights, but into the rights of certain third parties who have not been charged with any crime," prosecutors said in a statement, via TC Palm.
Prosecutors said even if its decided that police violated the constitution, “suppression of the videos is not an appropriate remedy."
Kraft’s case is on hold until the appeal is settled.
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