Florida prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision to suppress the video evidence in Robert Kraft’s solicitation of prostitution case, according to a notice filed in state court Friday afternoon.
Judge Leonard Hanser ruled earlier this week that Jupiter, Florida, police did not properly monitor the video they planted in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The decision, if upheld, could effectively end the state’s case against the New England Patriots owner and 24 other men who allegedly received sexual services for money in January.
Two operators of the clinic were charged with felonies, but all the men were charged with misdemeanors.
Attorneys for Kraft expected the state to appeal, noting that the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office could have opened itself up to a civil lawsuit by Kraft and the other defendants if it hadn’t.
“[Palm Beach County State Attorney David] Aronberg is acknowledging he has no case without the illegal video recordings that four Florida judges have now found to be unconstitutional,” said William Burck, an attorney for Kraft. “No evidence means no trial. So the state had only two options — drop the case or appeal. They chose to appeal, but we are confident the appellate court will agree with Judge Hanser and the other judges who threw out their illegally obtained evidence.”
The issue at hand is whether police properly “minimized” the surveillance. Kraft’s elite legal team argued successfully during a hearing earlier this month that police did not avoid recording legal activity inside the spa, and that Kraft and other clients had a right to expect privacy inside the facility.
Lead Jupiter police Det. Andrew Sharp testified his team stopped watching video monitors when it was evident there was no illegal activity taking place, but defense attorneys got him to admit that police never stopped recording. Other police witnesses said they were not told how to minimize.