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Robert Kraft’s attorneys desperately fighting video release

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The legal fight continues between Robert Kraft’s lawyers and Palm Beach County authorities over his solicitation of prostitution charges from February. And the latest legal move in the case is: Kraft’s legal team doing everything they can to have the court system throw out the Jupiter police video that they say incriminates the 77 year-old billionaire owner of the Patriots.

Kraft lawyers filed a 92 page legal challenge in Palm Beach County earlier this week, detailing not only how the Jupiter police obtained their warrant and got the cameras placed inside the “Orchids of Asia” Day Spa, but their lengthy argument as to why the video evidence should not be allowed, much less released to the public.

The best legal analogy that we at F.F.I. have heard in these situations is that Kraft’s legal team is “taking a bazooka to fire on an ant hill” in a misdemeanor case. That obviously indicates they realize the video is the crucial piece of evidence to link Kraft to having solicited prostitution and sex acts inside the spa on consecutive days in late January. And, that video’s public viewing in court or release means everything.

In their filing and their argument, Kraft’s legal team further revealed new information, including that the Jupiter police used a fake bomb threat to clear the spa out. And then, they were able to install cameras in three different rooms of the massage parlor. Essentially, the Patriots owner’s legal team says that the warrant obtained was unnecessary and therefore, all of the video surveillance from it should be inadmissible and the case thrown out.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney and the Jupiter Police would not comment on the legal filing citing the on-going case.

Meanwhile, numerous media companies, both national and local to South Florida put up their own legal challenge last week wanting the video released under Florida’s “Sunshine Law.”

That law has been in place for decades and allows the media and the public to have the ability to scrutinize government officials/actions and proceedings, as well as, evidence in court cases. This would include the video evidence in Kraft’s case, whether it’s actually allowed in a court proceeding or not.

In fact, the Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, who’s part of the multi-juristictional investigation, made it clear late last month that one way or the other, the video will likely be released to the media/the public.

Aside from the legal ramifications and the already public humiliation for the Super Bowl winning owner, the NFL  implications and consequences 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.

Reports in South Florida are that Kraft’s latest court date for the lawyers and the motions was to have been April 12th, but that is now been canceled. And, it’s unknown when it will be rescheduled or if a plea agreement is still being discussed.

Several of the defendants arrested in the Palm Beach County crackdown of solicitation of prostitution have already pleaded guilty. And, one of those lawyers said that the defendants in this case were given a deadline of this Friday to accept the current plea arrangements (community service and a fine, etc.) from the Palm Beach County authorities. Further, it was made clear to the defendants that any future deal will have tougher penalties and restrictions after this weekend.

That would apply to Robert Kraft, as one of those defendants.

However, it appears from the legal maneuvering the Kraft and his legal team have no intention of agreeing to plead to anything, but will instead, will take the risk that the court will agree with them and not allow the video to be part of the evidence and never be released.

That last part is going to be the biggest challenge, as with the present-day frenzy of video on the internet and social media and websites like TMZ that are willing to pay for it, it’s all but certain that the video will eventually “see the light of day” and humiliate Kraft even further.

So, the legal wrangling continues, but if the court rejects Kraft legal team’s filing, he is almost certainly facing some type of plea and then, NFL discipline is coming likely, no matter what.

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Time for concern after XFL TV ratings declined again last week?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Vipers better but drop third straight game in home opener

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Mary Holt- USA Today Sports

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.

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