New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft dodged a serious bullet. A judge ruled on Monday (May 13) prosecutors cannot use video surveillance featuring Kraft engaging in sexual acts in a Florida massage parlor. This move is a significant blow to the prosecution’s case against him.
Judge Leonard Hanser detailed in his 10-page ruling that the judge and Jupiter police detectives who issued the search warrant allowing them to install secretly install cameras in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter “did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of other customers, some of whom received only legal massages.” Kraft’s lawyers are expected to file a motion to have the case against him dismissed based on lack of evidence. So basically Kraft might walk from this case unscathed due to the fact authorities caught innocent patrons of the parlor in the buff.
“The fact that some totally innocent women and men had their entire lawful time spent in a massage room fully recorded and viewed intermittently by a detective-monitor is unacceptable.”
Kraft initially pleaded not guilty but did not deny he didn’t pay for happy endings to go alongside his massages. His lawyer’s arguments also include the fact the Patriots owner admitted he was indeed on video engaging in sexual acts with prostitutes.
It would seem that the tactic by Kraft’s attorneys of hammering home the point that innocent men and women were recorded worked. Despite Andrew Sharp who was the lead detective on the case stating that he informed officers to not watch the footage when the clients were not receiving sexual favors he also admitted they never stopped recording though. Other detectives on the case revealed during cross-examination that they were never instructed on how to minimalize their surveillance.
Despite this win in court, Kraft is not in the clear just yet. He can still face disciplinary action from the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell is still mulling on punishment, and his decision to discipline the owner will not be determined by the court’s rulings. The league is currently monitoring the case but has not come to a conclusion yet, under the league rules players, coaches owners and other league employees could face punishment for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” of the NFL.
Kraft as part of a sting that resulted in the arrest of about 300 men and the closing of 10 spas across the state of Florida was chauffeured to Orchids of Asia spa on Jan.19 where he was secretly recorded engaging in a sex act with multiple women and handing them an undisclosed amount of cash once the deed was done police reports state. Clearly, he still had something left in the clip and returned to the parlor 17 hours later and engaged with another prostitute paying her with a $100 bill and another bill.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but if we keeping it a buck, the NFL is notorious for not getting this whole punishment thing right. We all know if this was a player thought they would be suspended immediately, so keep your eyes on this situation as it plays out.