Another day of legal wrangling took place in Palm Beach County Court, as attorneys for the media outlets wanting the release of Robert Kraft videotape, that allegedly shows him in sex acts at a Jupiter, Florida massage parlor in January, battled with Kraft’s defense team over that issue.
Judge Leonard Hanser listened to arguments from both sides for over three hours about whether or not the video taken by Jupiter police should be released before Kraft’s trial. The media outlets like the Boston Globe, the Palm Beach Post, CNN and others are seeking to see and for the public to see the video for themselves.
Meanwhile, Kraft’s attorneys, led by William Burck, spent most of Friday morning and early afternoon arguing to the judge that the release of the video would be far too damaging. And, they have yet to be heard on whether the video should be suppressed (thrown out) as evidence, because they believe law enforcement illegally obtained a warrant to put the video cameras inside the “Orchids of Asia Day Spa” back in January.
Countering though, the media attorneys convincingly argued to the Judge that Florida law, previous precedence and even the Florida State Supreme Court has previously ruled, that there is no provision for defendants alleged to have committed crimes being able to stop the evidence (in this case the video) being released prior to their trial. Kraft’s lawyers did not have a viable answer to that.
Hanser listened intently and asked many follow up questions, but ultimately did not rule. However, he is expected to possibly rule on the point, when they meet again, on Tuesday.
We wrote last week Kraft’s lawyers filed a 92 page legal challenge in Palm Beach County, detailing not only how the Jupiter police obtained their warrant and got the cameras placed inside the “Orchids of Asia” Day Spa in January, but why the video evidence should not only not be allowed, much less released to the public.
Burck, said to the judge Friday, “what is the reason the public needs to see the video itself?” and then added, “the only possible reason to release it is to get eyeballs and clicks.”
The media lawyers, however, are contending that the reasons don’t matter, and the law is clear that Kraft isn’t entitled to special “provision” to the law. And that the law says the public is entitled to see the video even before a trial takes place.
Aside from the legal ramifications and the already public humiliation for the Super Bowl winning owner, the NFL implications and consequences for the 77 year old billionaire Kraft, are also looming.
As we have written about repeatedly, the NFL could go ahead and make its own determination that Kraft violated the personal conduct policy, even without a criminal conviction against Kraft.
And, they have done so in recent cases involving Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who were both under investigation for inappropriate conduct, or in Elliot’s case domestic violence. Yet, neither was criminally charged, much less convicted. Still, both were suspended without pay under the NFL’s authority within the collective bargaining agreement.
Further, the NFL disciplined Colts owner Robert Irsay in 2014 by suspending him six games and finding him $500,000 after his DUI charges led to a guilty plea that year.
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