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Robert Kraft video at Jupiter massage parlor ruled inadmissible. Can the public see it?

Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter, Fla.
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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter, Fla.

The judge in the prostitution case against Robert Kraft has ruled that the surveillance video showing him allegedly engaging in sex at a Jupiter massage parlor cannot be used as evidence at his trial.

The ruling could gut the high-profile case against the owner of the New England Patriots, this year’s Super Bowl champions.

And now that the surveillance video has been ruled inadmissible, Kraft’s attorneys are asking the court to keep the video sealed.

“The public has no right to access suppressed evidence, particularly materials that have been suppressed because they were obtained in violation of [law],” attorneys wrote in the motion.

On the basis of a search warrant, Jupiter police surreptitiously installed video cameras in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Those cameras captured over 100 hours of video of Kraft and several other men allegedly engaging in commercial sex in the back room of the spa.

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, May 9, 2019, Steven Senne AP

After they left the business, Kraft and other customers were stopped by police under the pretext of a traffic violation. They ultimately faced misdemeanor prostitution charges.

In his 10-page order, Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser stated that customers of the spa — particularly men and women who ended up on surveillance video while receiving non-sexual, therapeutic massages at Orchids of Asia — had an expectation of privacy, especially in the massage rooms. In their request for a search warrant, detectives didn’t consider the need to safeguard the rights of spa clients receiving “lawful services” at Orchids of Asia.

As a result, Hanser wrote, all evidence gathered from the search warrant was barred from being introduced at trial.

Contacted by the Miami Herald, Kraft attorneys Alex Spiro and William Burck said they had no comment.

Following the order, the attorneys filed a motion to extend an already existing protective order that prohibits the video from being released to the public.

In a separate trial, spa operator Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang are facing felony charges as a result of the investigation into a prostitution ring spanning two counties.

The Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office said in early April that the video was a public record subject to release unless a court said otherwise.

If granted, Monday’s motion would mean the videos would permanently be sealed.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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