Robert Kraft's legal team files motion to stop prosecutors' planned release of video in prostitution case

Wednesday - 17/04/2019 15:48
KATHY WILLENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
KATHY WILLENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
No ruling in Friday hearing

(CNN) - Shortly after prosecutors said Wednesday they intend to release video that is expected to show Robert Kraft receiving sexual services at a Florida day spa, the New England Patriots owner's legal team filed an emergency motion aiming to block the release.

Kraft's lawyers have maintained that releasing the video would violate their client's constitutional rights and hamper his chance for a fair trial.

"Mr. Kraft has an obvious and profound stake in any potential disclosure of the sensitive materials at issue, which, among other things, depict him naked, and should therefore be permitted to intervene for the sake of protecting his interests and informing this Court's decision," the defense motion said.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office said earlier that it would release video showing Kraft and 24 other men charged after a monthslong, multijurisdictional sting, according to court documents.
The release would come not in the case against Kraft but in the cases of two women accused of running the Orchids of Asia Day Spa that Kraft is accused of patronizing, court documents show.
As custodian of the records, prosecutors say state law compels them to release the evidence to the media. They will "pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public, absent a court order," the court documents said.
It was not clear when prosecutors intended to release the video.

No ruling in Friday hearing

At a Friday hearing, Judge Leonard Hanser did not rule on whether to release video but asked all parties to submit proposed orders in the case by Tuesday.
Hundreds of people were charged in the sting involving several massage parlors and day spas in Florida. Kraft faces two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.

Prosecutors offered to drop the charges in exchange for fines, community service and an admission that he would be found guilty if he went to trial, but a source familiar with the case told CNN that Kraft would not accept the deal.

"I am truly sorry," he said in a statement last month. "I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard."
Friday's hearing took place after media outlets, including CNN, requested the video be released.

Video 'basically pornography,' attorneys say

Separate from the issue of whether the media can obtain the video, Kraft's attorneys have asked the judge to keep the video out of the trial. In court documents, his attorneys allege that investigators provided false information in the affidavit to obtain a warrant for the sting, thus making the video inadmissible. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for April 26.

Kraft's legal team has argued the video is "basically pornography" and asked a judge to prevent the videos' release to the news media, in part because they say it would violate Kraft's right to privacy.

Attorney William Burck told the judge it was vital to bar the media's access to the video before the court rules on its admissibility in trial.

If the media is allowed to air the video, but the court later rules the footage is inadmissible and the case still goes to trial, many potential jurors will have seen the video and will be tainted by evidence they weren't supposed to consider, Burck argued.

The media coalition's attorneys argued that the public has a right to see the video and that Kraft does not enjoy the right to privacy as a defendant in a criminal case.
In the documents filed Wednesday, State Attorney Dave Aronberg said he cannot wait for a ruling on Kraft's legal challenge.
"The legislative scheme of the Public Records Act does not allow a custodian to delay the production of records to allow the resolution of a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents," he wrote.

CNN's Keith Allen, Rosa Flores and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

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