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Robert Kraft solicitation trial delayed indefinitely

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Kraft
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After having the key video evidence thrown out, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his defense team were hoping that his solicitation of prostitution case in Palm Beach County would be resolved soon. However, it will now likely be after the start of the NFL season, at the earliest, before we have final resolution on whether the case will proceed or end?

This after Judge Robert Hanser granted the Palm Beach State Attorney’s motion for more time, so that they can prepare and then, appeal Hanser’s video ruling. And, more specifically, the appeal to the 15th Judicial Circuit that, includes Palm Beach County cannot hear the case until September.

Hanser entered the order late Tuesday afternoon after State Attorney Dave Aronberg filed a brief saying, in part, that trying the case without the video evidence, “is contrary to the interests of justice.”

At issue is Hanser deciding that Palm Beach County Sheriff’s  Office and Jupiter Police did not have the proper legal authority to get a “sneak-and-peek” video warrant last January for the “Orchids of Asia Day Spa.” Hanser agreed with Kraft’s defense that the authorities misrepresented that the video was needed for a case involving human trafficking.

They further argued, that it was an invasion of privacy of everyone that went into the day spa, including for legitimate reasons, during the four-day time that the cameras were used.

Kraft was allegedly seen having sex acts performed on him in a private room of the spa on January 19th and 20th. There were 24 others arrested in the crackdown over the four days. Numerous ones of those defendants already chose to plea their case down with community service, a fine, etc.

Most legal observers believe without the video, that Aronberg and his office will have no choice but to drop the charges against the 77 year-old billionaire owner of the Patriots. And, Aronberg is essentially saying that by filing the appeal.

However, Aronberg and his office, as well as the Attorney General’s office from the state of Florida have to be looking at the legal challenge/supression of the video, as much bigger than just Kraft’s particular case. Rather, it has wide ranging ramifications on future cases where video evidence and how it was obtained will be at issue and challenged.

It should also be pointed out that local judges are often overruled by appeallate courts, and Aronberg and his office may ultimately win the appeal and have the video in the Kraft case re-instated, whenever it’s heard later this fall.

At that point, Kraft and his lawyers (or even Aronberg and the State if they lose, again) can appeal to the Florida State Supreme Court for an opinion/ruling on whether the video is admissible.

So, again, it’s far from over from a legal standpoint.

And, no matter what happens, Kraft is likely facing a large fine and a suspension from the NFL for violating the personal conduct policy. This is largely viewed as a “slam dunk,” because of the embarrassment the charges against Kraft have caused and, the fact that Kraft all but admitted to his actions with his public apology.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sidestepped a question about possible league discipline during his Wednesday press conference at the league meetings in Key Biscayne,

“I am not going to speculate… Of course, yes, we’ll be gathering our own facts and finding out what actually happened,” Goodell said.

The NFL has traditionally waited until legal proceedings are finalized before they impose any league findings or discipline.

So, they won’t likely be before the start to this season.

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Colts Kicker Adam Vinateri out for Bucs game

Abbey Radeka

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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The Colts are traveling to Tampa Bay but will likely take on the Bucs without their future Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri.

Before the matchup last week against the Titans, Vinatieri had began to experience a bit of pain in his left knee, the leg he plants to kick with his right leg. He told reporters that the pain began to increase through the week which led him to be placed on the Colt’s injury report for the first time this season.

Later Friday afternoon, Indy made Vinatieri’s “out” status official:

Vinatieri who is currently the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, has struggled to be consistent this season and has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts. He’s cost the Colt’s a couple of games in his missed eight field goals and six extra points.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that Vinatieri saw some doctors and got scans to figure out the severity of the problem. From there, they’ll consult with doctors and make a decision, which could potentially end his career. He’s currently sitting at 599 made FGs in his 24 seasons, just one shy of the 600 mark.

Earlier this week, Indianapolis secured rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and the 45 year old Pro Bowler had said on Thursday that if he got the go ahead from everyone, he’d take the field on Sunday.

“Docs and trainers and everybody will put their two cents in and we’ll see if we can go,” Vinatieri said. “If I can go, I’ll go.”

Obviously, he did not get good news, and that means the rookie McLaughlin is in to kick at Raymond James Stadium.

The Colts are looking to stay in the race for the AFC wild card spot, in a similar situation as the Bucs, so this Sunday (and really every Sunday from here on out) is a do or die for both teams.

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Florida follows California’s lead on paying college athletes

Matt Zemek

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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California is blue. Florida is red. The two states now share the same outlook on college athletes gaining more green.

In late September, California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, signed Senate Bill 206, allowing college athletes to profit from sales of their name, image and likeness, and to retain scholarships even while signing endorsement deals with companies and earning added income.

The legislation does not allow schools to directly pay athletes, but it does enable athletes to venture into commercial activity, effective in 2023. The NCAA has a few years, then, to adjust to the current reality. So far, it has opposed SB 206.

Would another state – especially a high-profile one with a large recruiting pool – follow California’s lead? Florida, though led by a Republican governor, has done just that.

On Thursday, as reported by Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his support of legislation to enable college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

It is significant that a big recruiting-magnet state such as Florida joined California. It is also significant that a Republican governor expressed (rare) agreement with deep-blue California’s efforts, creating a bipartisan dimension to support for this particular policy.

DeSantis (above) said California is on “the right track” with its legislation. He said that if Florida’s legislature can pass this legislation, the NCAA might need “to reevaluate” its position on the matter.

“I’m confident those issues can be addressed in a way that will maintain college athletics as really special thing but also provide the ability for our student athletes to be able to benefit just like anybody else would be able to benefit,” DeSantis said.

The bipartisan nature of this effort in Florida was affirmed by the fact that Florida Representative Kionne McGhee, the state’s House Democratic minority leader, filed one of the bills DeSantis supports. Rep. McGhee appeared with DeSantis on Thursday in a public show of cross-party unity.

California is often seen as an example of what NOT to do by Republicans in particular and conservatives in general. Thursday’s news represents an exception to that reality.

It offers an interesting new plot twist in the way this larger set of issues is perceived in collegiate athletics.

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