Footage purportedly showing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa will remain under seal, but his attorneys are still trying to keep it out of his pending criminal case for soliciting prostitution. Court is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Kraft’s lawyers want to suppress the video recording from an “unlawful ‘sneak and peek’” search warrant, according to a filing obtained by Law&Crime. Cops put hidden cameras in the spa’s message rooms and lobby. A judge authorized this for five days. Kraft’s attorneys argued that police exaggerated their case and misled the judge when seeking the warrant to install secret cameras in the parlor. Cops broke the law, the lawyers argued.
The defense says this police tactic was overkill for investigating what were suspected to only be misdemeanor offenses.
“Far from having justification commensurate with the extraordinary invasions it perpetuated, law enforcement in this case had no authority whatsoever for something as drastic as ‘sneak and peek’ video surveillance, much less continuous, unbounded video surveillance of naked patrons in private licensed massage parlors,” they wrote.
Attorneys argue that there’s nothing under the law that lets police “conduct covert video surveillance inside private premises to investigate prostitution, let alone misdemeanor solicitation.”
Lawyers suggest that the Jupiter Police Department had a “false narrative of human trafficking.” Investigators bolstered their argument for a “sneak and peek” warrant relying on details from a warrantless search performed by a Florida Department of Health official, said the defense.
Kraft’s lawyers are also calling out cops for allegedly installing the cameras through a fake bomb threat on January 18, 2019. Police orchestrated an evacuation, and this gave them the opportunity to install the cameras, according to the filing.
“As such, the Warrant authorized the JPD to videotape an untold number of unsuspecting, innocent, naked patrons who were doing nothing wrong,” said Kraft’s lawyers. They argued that the recordings didn’t add anything to the information police already obtained through other methods.
Police also pulled over Kraft’s car on January 19, 2019 after his earlier visit to the spa. The defense said this was illegal because the driver committed no traffic violations. They said the officer asked for Kraft’s driver’s license with no legal basis, as the defendant was a passenger in the vehicle.
[Screengrab via CNBC]