Not long after state prosecutors in Florida asked a judge to hold New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s defense attorneys in criminal contempt on Tuesday Kraft’s attorneys responded by calling this a “desperate” attempt made in “bad faith.”
Prosecutors claimed earlier Tuesday that Alex Spiro and William Burck lied about evidence to intimidate and tamper with a witness, namely Jupiter Police Officer Scott Kimbark. Kimbark pulled over the vehicle Kraft was a passenger in after Kraft left the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. It was at that spa that Kraft allegedly solicited prostitution. Kimbark said Spiro claimed to have him on video “saying stupid shit” about being willing to make up a story to cover for a lack of probable cause in executing the traffic stop.
“His facial expressions as he smirked and his raised eyebrows along with his accusing statement intimidated me to believe I had done something wrong,” Kimbark said.
For this, prosecutors hammered Burck and Spiro.
“There are no rationalizations, justifications, or excuses for attorney Spiro’s and Burck’s knowing presentation of false and misleading accusations directly affecting the credibility of a material witness,” they said. “Four times [emphasis theirs] attorney Spiro accused the witness of having said he was ‘making shit up’ to cover for a lack of probable cause. The inflammatory words were never spoken by anyone other than by these attorneys for the defendant.”
“An in the defense’s closing arguments, attorney Burck reiterated to the Court the existence of the purported radio transmission, suggesting its impact on Officer Kimbark’s credibility,” the state continued. “It is clear attorney Spiro called Officer Kimbark as a rebuttal witness solely for the purpose of placing into the record a statement he knew was false and had never been made by anyone other than himself.”
Kraft’s attorneys responded quickly with a filing of their own, calling prosecutors’ motion “scurrilous” and “baseless.”
“Unable to justify a lawless, indefensible prosecution on its merits, the State has resorted to trying to smear defense counsel. Because the State via its motion is taking unfounded potshots at defense counsel in an effort to distract from its own longstanding, demonstrated pattern of misconduct and from the legal defects in its case, defense counsel wants to correct the record posthaste,” they said. “To the extent that the motion remains pending, more fulsome response will follow in short order. For now, it suffices to note that there is no basis to fault the conduct of Mr. Kraft’s defense or any of his undersigned counsel in any respect, let alone to undertake criminal contempt proceedings.”
Kraft’s lawyers eventually turned their attention to Spiro’s encounter with Kimbark, saying that there was “no basis to attribute impropriety to the episode.”
“Nor can defense counsel’s exchange with Officer Kimbark possibly warrant contempt proceedings. As described by Officer Kimbark in his affidavit, the exchange occurred around fellow officers who all approached Mr. Spiro asking whether they could be released from testifying,” their response said. “Far from seeking to intimidate Officer Kimbark, Mr. Spiro was simply trying to answer his inquiries and provide guidance on whether and to what extent Officer Kimbark might be called. There is no basis to attribute impropriety to the episode, as confirmed by the fact that none of the many witnesses did attribute impropriety to it, until the State suddenly tried, days later, to mischaracterize it as something sinister.”
“It is telling that the State filed its latest submission only after Mr. Kraft filed, on Friday, May 4, his post-hearing motion seeking suppression,” they added. “Clearly, the State has no answer on the core merits, so it is trying to draw attention away from the merits of its case, which has been exposed as fatally defective in multiple respects.”
In closing, Kraft’s lawyers accused prosecutors of making “serial misrepresentations” of their own, “including providing false assurances that relevant videos would not be released without judicial authorization and that critical bodycam footage would be promptly provided to the defense.”
If someone has screwed up here, it’s state prosecutors, Team Kraft maintained.
“If there is misconduct that should concern the Court, it is happening on the other side of the caption,” they said. “Among other things, the bodycam footage that the State is attempting now to turn against defense counsels is, in fact, smoking-gun proof of the State’s own failures to comply with its disclosure obligations under Brady and otherwise.”
The defense attorneys said that they are “prepared” to say more in a filing on Wednesday and nudged the judge to “consider imposing sanctions on the State and its attorneys for their bad faith in filing [the allegations].”
William Burck told Law&Crime earlier Tuesday that the contempt motion was “an act of desperation” by State Attorney Dave Aronberg‘s office.
“They know what they filed is false and misleading to the court but they did it anyway because they are desperate. That’s because they want to deflect attention away from their illegal and unconstitutional methods in investigating and prosecuting this case,” Burck said. “They first falsely accused Robert Kraft of being involved with human trafficking and then had to back off. Now they are falsely accusing the defense lawyers of lying to the court. It’s pathetic.”
“But it takes a lot more than State Attorney Dave Aronberg and the lawyers he’s got in court to intimidate Quinn Emanuel lawyers from doing their jobs in a vigorous and ethical manner,” Burck added.
[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images]