Records show prosecutors in Palm Beach County, Florida are dropping their criminal case against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 79.
The high-profile defendant was facing two counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution, but as of Thursday afternoon, the disposition of those reads “nolle prosse” (see: nolle prosequi) That means the state is dismissing the case.
Palm Beach County State Attorney @aronberg dropping solicitation of prostitution charges against #Patriots owner #RobertKraft according to court docs – this after appeals court rules sneak and peek video can’t be used at trial – Newser at 2:30 @WPBF25News pic.twitter.com/UxrI8O3nhp
— Terri Parker (@wpbf_terri) September 24, 2020
Kraft was one of the defendants in a wide-ranging prostitution bust in the region. Authorities said they had him dead to rights because cops installed secret cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Footage showed him on the receiving end of a sex act, police said.
But there was a problem with those cameras. The issue wasn’t that cops allegedly caught Kraft on tape, but that the cameras recorded others, including female customers at the spa. Courts repeatedly suppressed the evidence under the Fourth Amendment, saying that authorities should have done a better job making sure clearly innocent people were not going to be recorded. Police ignored those minimization requirements, according to a recent ruling by the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida, Fourth District:
The trial courts did not err in determining that the minimization requirements were ignored, as opposed to merely being unmet despite efforts to satisfy them. As previously discussed, the agencies failed to take the most basic and reasonable step of minimization by not monitoring or recording the unsuspected female clients. We ascribe no ill motives to the procedural decisions made by the law enforcement agencies involved. But at best, each department was lulled into a zone of complacency where complacency cannot exist.
It appears that the court’s ruling to bar use of the hidden footage as evidence was devastating to the state’s case.
A Kraft attorney did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment. We also reached out to the prosecutor’s office. State Attorney Dave Aronberg is scheduling a press conference on the Orchids of Asia Day Spa case to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.
[Image via Robert Kraft]
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