Florida judge blocks video in case related to Kraft

NFL

A Florida judge on Monday ruled that prosecutors cannot use surveillance video in a case related to the solicitation case of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Palm Beach County Judge Joseph Marx ruled to suppress the video evidence in the case against the owner and manager of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.

Spa owner Hua Zhang and manager Lei Wang face several counts related to prostitution. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Kraft and his attorneys won a similar ruling in their case last week, though prosecutors have appealed that decision by Palm Beach Court Judge Leonard Hanser.

Monday’s ruling means that all of the video evidence in the cases in Palm Beach County currently is blocked from use by the local courts.

The video in question was gathered as evidence in the case against Kraft and 24 other men who are charged with paying for sex at the spa in Jupiter.

Hanser already ruled the Kraft videos could not be released publicly until his trial was underway or the case was settled or dismissed.

Kraft’s attorneys now are expected to file a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of evidence. That could happen as early as Tuesday.

Hanser earlier ordered Kraft to appear in court for Tuesday’s hearing, but on Monday said Kraft will not have to attend the hearing.

Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of solicitation, but he has not denied the accusation that he received sexual acts for money at the spa. In his lawyers’ arguments against the charges, Kraft has essentially admitted he was caught on video receiving such services. That could be significant when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell considers discipline. The NFL is not bound by court rulings, and a dismissal of criminal charges wouldn’t mean Kraft is off the hook with the league.

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