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Robert Kraft solicitation trial delayed indefinitely

Florida Football Insiders



Robert Kraft

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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NFL announced Wednesday Pro Bowl back in Orlando

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is obviously happy with Orlando as its location for its postseason Pro Bowl All-Star Game, and they demonstrated that again on Wednesday morning.

That’s when the league announced that for the fourth consecutive year the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played at Camping World Stadium the weekend before the Super Bowl:

For the last three years, the All-Star game has called Orlando it’s home, and there’s no doubt that football fans in Central Florida (and all over the country) have enjoyed coming to Central Florida to be part of the festivities that week.

However, the game itself has come under increasing criticism, and rightfully so, as the players involved seem less and less interested in it actually being a football game.

In fact, we went so far as to say that the NFL should stop playing the game, as it has devolved into a mockery of what a “football game” should look like. Here’s part of what we wrote last January:

At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.

No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.

A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.

This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.

Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.

Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.

It’s not even close.

Nonetheless, the Pro Bowl will continue and be televised again this season by ESPN on Sunday afternoon January 26th. The Super Bowl will be played the following week in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.

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Tampa Bay/NFL media stunned by sudden death of writer Don Banks

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The outpouring of sympathy and stories continues for longtime NFL writer Don Banks, who passed away suddenly early Sunday morning in Canton, Ohio, while covering the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

The 57 year old Banks had recently been hired by the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper to become their NFL writer / cover the Raiders, when they arrive to town in 2020. He was at the induction ceremony Saturday night, but was found non-responsive in his Canton hotel room, apparently dying in his sleep:

However, that’s the end of his  25+ year NFL media career.

He actually began his long NFL writing career in Tampa Bay working for the then- St Petersburg Times, and covering the Buccaneers.

Banks worked for the Times on the Bucs beat in the 1990s in and around coaches Sam Wyche and Tony Dungy.

Several Tampa Bay media members and former co-workers expressed sympathy and remembrances after the news had broken Sunday, ESPN Bucs reporter Jenna Laine tweeted this:

Current Watch Stadium college football insider, Brett McMurphy, talked about Banks’ roots with him, as a high school sports reporter in Tampa Bay:

Meanwhile, Banks’ former colleague at the Times and current Buccaneers beat writer, Rick Stroud talked at length with fond remembrances and stories on his podcast about Banks that was released Monday morning. Those stories dated back to Banks covering the orange “Bucco Bruce” Buccaneers three decades ago:

Banks left Tampa and worked in Minnesota as a Vikings beat writer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and later jumped to Sports Illustrated, where he worked for nearly 20 years, including helping develop their extensive digital coverage of the NFL.

They remembered him fondly and sadly, as well:

Banks had been working for the past few years for The Athletic out of Boston, covering the Patriots and the National Football League before being hired earlier this summer in Las Vegas.

Ironically, Banks’ first work for the Vegas paper ran Sunday morning, on the day that he died. He wrote about the Cleveland Browns transitioning from having been covered extensively in training camp last year by HBO’s Hard Knocks to a new coaching staff, etc. for this year.

Banks is survived by his second wife and his adult children from a previous marriage. And, it’s obvious that he had tremendous impact, especially with a lot of young and up-and-coming reporters in the business.

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