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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