A Florida judge has granted Patriots team owner Robert Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence in his solicitation of prostitution case, ESPN reported Monday.
In late March, Kraft’s attorneys filed a motion contending that video evidence of Kraft’s alleged activity with a masseuse at a spa in Jupiter, Fla., had been improperly obtained through an “unlawful sneak-and-peek search warrant.”
The motion contended the video surveillance used on Kraft and 24 other men charged in the case had been “governmental overreach,” and that the search warrant had been filed under false pretenses because no proof had been found of human trafficking, the target of the probe.
ESPN reports that while the State of Florida may appeal Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser’s ruling Monday, the ruling “devastates their case against (Kraft).”
Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty in late February to two counts of soliciting prostitution at the spa the night of Jan. 20 and then again early Jan. 20, the morning of the Patriots’ AFC championship game in Kansas City. Kraft has denied any wrongdoing, although investigators allege he was seen on the surveillance video engaging in a sexual act with a spa worker on both visits.
In late March, the state attorney in Palm Beach County offered to drop the charges against Kraft if he admitted his guilt. In exchange, he would have had to agree to pay a fine and perform community service. Instead, Kraft opted not to accept the plea deal and fight the case.
Regardless of the outcome of Kraft’s case, the team owner is still trying to keep the videos from going public. Kraft’s attorneys have contended that the videos of Kraft are “basically pornography,” and should not be made public. However, Hanser has said he will allow release of the tapes once the outcome of the case has been settled.