A Florida judge on Tuesday granted a state attorney’s request to delay Robert Kraft’s possible trial while prosecutors appeal a decision to block their use of secretly shot video, what prosecutors call “crucial evidence” in the spa-sex case against the Patriots owner, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser has ordered the suppression of two videos of Kraft obtained in January at the spa in Jupiter, Florida, through a so-called “sneak and peek” search warrant. Prosecutors are seeking to have Hanser’s ruling overturned.
On Tuesday, Hanser agreed to stop the clock on Kraft’s potential trial while prosecutors’ appeal runs its course. Trying the case without the suppressed evidence “is contrary to the interests of justice. …,” according to the state’s motion.
Kraft, 77, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges that he paid for sex in January at the massage parlor.
The judge’s stay order Tuesday puts an indefinite hold on the case, meaning it might not be resolved before the reigning-champion Patriots begin defense of their Super Bowl title in September.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach is expected to hear the state’s appeal.
No matter the legal outcome, Kraft still could be subject to disciplinary action by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league’s personal conduct policy.
Kraft, 77, is one of more than two dozen men charged with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa based on a monthslong investigation that authorities initially said was linked to human trafficking. However, no one has been charged with trafficking from the sting operation that covered four Southeast Florida counties.
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 the release of the tapes once the outcome of the case is settled.