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.
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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.
“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.
Time for concern after XFL TV ratings declined again last week?
For the second consecutive week, the XFL televison ratings continued to slide in the wrong direction. And, the troubling part is that if the trend continues, the XFL will have no leverage for sponsors and revenue to keep it going long term.
First, here are the specifics on the bad viewership news: According to Showbuzzdaily.com all four XFL broadcasts last Saturday and Sunday afternoon had lower ratings in their slot than the previous week.
That includes the Tampa Bay Vipers home debut against Houston, which was the early game on ABC Saturday. And, while that window had 400,000 less viewers than week 2, the bigger concern is ABC has lost almost 40% of the audience from the 3.3 million average that watched their Week one debut game on Saturday afternoon.
The ratings downward trend is following the same pattern as last Spring’s Alliance of American Football, where the ratings dwindled to under a million fans for broadcasts by week five and eventually the league shut down after just eight weeks. This was in part because of concerns on how the AAF could make any revenue, through television in specific, if they had very little audience for the end of year one and to sell off of for year two.
Now, WWE owner Vince McMahon, who folded the XFL the first time in 2001 in large part because the television audience plummeted over the course of the first month or so of its existence and never recovered, has the same issue in 2020.
And, as we wrote previously, this audience decline while negative is far less McMahon’s original XFL and it’s first season of 2001. That’s when, it debuted on its first Saturday night on NBC with a massive 10.1 rating, which translated 18 years ago to more than 9.5 viewers on network TV. A Smashing success.
However, the XFL’s ratings plummeted starting the following week and had fewer than 25% of that opening night audience just a month later with the games still being shown on a Saturday night coveted slot on NBC. It doomed the league from a P.R. and sponsor standpoint and McMahon pulled the plug.
Now, in 2020, McMahon reportedly has money to burn and is apparently prepared to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in year one. So, even if the XFL TV ratings continue come down significantly, it will not spell the end of the XFL (like it did nearly 20 years ago) after just a single season.
At least, that’s what we think.
Vipers better but drop third straight game in home opener
Although their play was improved offensively, in the end it wasn’t enough for the Tampa Bay Vipers after they dropped their third straight XFL game to start the season 34 – 27 to Houston Saturday afternoon in Tampa.
Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, as Houston scored early in the fourth quarter to go up by seven and held off the Viper the rest of the way.
The Vipers offense came to life after they had failed to score in the offensive touchdown in either of their first two games. Both of which were losses on the road. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius, subbing for starter Aaron Murray who missed his second straight game with an injured foot, once again had modest numbers 16-31 for 193 yards 1 TD, 1 INT.
However, he did pull the game even at 18 – 18 at the half after scoring on a one yard QB sneak and Tampa Bay got the two-point conversion.
Still, the former Oklahoma State quarterbacks day was inconsistent and the home crowd at Raymond James Stadium began to chant the name “Flowers, Flowers” for former USF Star Quarterback Quinton Flowers, who played sparingly for the third straight game in a reserve role.
Flowers got Tampa Bay’s first offensive TD on the young season with a seven yard run in the first quarter, but only played QB sparingly in the game, again. He was just 4-6 for 57 yards passing with 29 yards on six attempts on the ground.
Meanwhile, the former Temple star Walker found receiver Cam Phillips for the third of their three touchdown hookups from 17 yards out to give Houston a 34 – 27 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Phillips devastated Jerry Glanville’s Vipers defense for 194 yards receiving on eight catches with the three TDs.
The Vipers look like they were going to have a chance to re-tie the game when Cornelius (above) completed a pass to his top target on the day, Jaylen Tolliver, at the two-yard line. However just like a week ago in Seattle when a critical fourth quarter drive stalled and Tampa Bay came away with no points in a 17 – 9 lost the Dragons, the Vipers got no points after Cornelius threw incomplete on second, third and fourth downs.
Many in the crowd and observers in the media were curious, as to why coach Marc Trestman didn’t go to Flowers as the dual threat running QB to at least try something different on one of those plays? Flowers even questioned why he did not play more after the game to the media.
The Vipers got the ball one final time, but Cornelius was picked off near midfield with just over a minute left to seal the defeat.
The Vipers played the first spring professional football game in Tampa, since the closing of the USFL 1985 season. That’s when Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandits were a popular item at Old Tampa Stadium. Saturday’s home opener drew and announced crowd of 18,117.
However it’s little consolation for former Bears and CFL coach Trestman and his team, as they remain winless on the season. The L.A. Wildcats playing Sunday are the other 0-2 team in the league, currently.
And, you have to wonder whether Trestman will be forced to go to Flowers for the start when they host the D.C. Defenders next week.