Robert Kraft Asks Judge to Suppress Video Evidence

Robert K. Kraft, the New England Patriots owner, has asked the judge overseeing his charges of solicitation of prostitution to suppress key evidence in the case against him, including video that the police have said shows him receiving sex from a masseuse at a spa in Jupiter, Fla.

The filing in Palm Beach County on Thursday is the latest effort by Mr. Kraft, who was charged with along with 24 other men, to have the misdemeanor charges thrown out and keep the video of the incidents on which they are based from public view.

Last week, Mr. Kraft asked that the evidence be kept private only until his case was finished.

The fate of the video, which could prove embarrassing as well as incriminating, has turned into the central tug-of-war in the case, which began in late February when the police in Palm Beach County charged Mr. Kraft and the other men with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia spa.

The case has garnered international attention for its mix of sex, celebrity and sports, and Mr. Kraft’s decision to fight the charges has turned what are normally perfunctory legal proceedings into a high-stakes game of chicken with prosecutors and police in south Florida.

In their filing on Thursday, Mr. Kraft’s lawyers said they asked the judge in the case “to suppress video recordings that are the fruits of an unlawful sneak-and-peek search warrant that the Town of Jupiter Police Department used to spy on Mr. Kraft and others, while they were in the private rooms of a licensed spa (the “Spa”), receiving treatment from licensed masseuses.”

The lawyers described the video surveillance as a “governmental overreach” and maintained that the search warrant was filed until false pretenses because the human trafficking the police contend was taking place in the spa has not been proven.

“Florida resorted to the most drastic, invasive, indiscriminate spying conceivable by law enforcement — taking continuous video recordings of private massages in which customers would be stripping naked as a matter of course — in order to prosecute what are at most (according to Florida’s own allegations) misdemeanor offenses, as to which (according to Florida’s own affidavits and search warrants) a wide array of alternative, benign modes of proof was readily available,” the lawyers wrote in their filing.

Mr. Kraft’s lawyers also asked that evidence related to a traffic stop, in which the police pulled over a car in which Mr. Kraft was riding, also be suppressed.

It is the videos of Mr. Kraft’s two visits to the spa in late January, though, that are the most consequential.

Last week, Sheriff William Snyder, in Martin County, said that the videos might be made public once the case is concluded, citing Florida law.

This week, news organizations, including ABC, ESPN, The Associated Press, The New York Times and the publisher of numerous newspapers, including The Miami Herald, filed a motion to oppose Mr. Kraft’s request that the evidence in the case be kept private.

In their filing, the news organizations said that the Florida constitution “does not provide a right of privacy in public records.”

In addition, “Florida courts also reject the notion that simply alleging embarrassment alone is sufficient grounds to defeat Public Records Act disclosure mandates.”

The judge in the case has scheduled a hearing for April 9 to create a schedule for further proceedings. Mr. Kraft could settle the case before then, however.

Last week, the state attorney in Palm Beach County offered to drop the charges if Mr. Kraft and the other men agreed to pay a fine, perform community service and agree that if the case went to trial, the prosecutors would win. This would effectively force Mr. Kraft to admit guilt in the case. He has opted not to accept the plea and instead fight the case.

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