Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft are set to appear in a Palm Beach County court Friday morning. They will argue for a protective order to seal video that allegedly shows him at a massage parlor. The hearing is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. ET.
“If the Videos, which merely appeal to prurient interests and serve no legitimate news-related purpose, are released to the public, the result would be to taint the entire jury pool, thereby frustrating Mr. Kraft’s ability to obtain a fair trial,” lawyers wrote in an April 10 filing.
Kraft is charged with two counts of solicitation of prostitution. Cops in Jupiter, Florida claim he went to a message parlor on January 19 and 20. There’s video evidence to prove it, they said. Media outlets including The New York Times, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, and The Associated Press have filed motions to intervene in the case.
Outlets oppose a joint motion for a protective order filed by Kraft and other defendants arrested in the prostitution case.
They argued in a March 26 filing that the case records should be public, especially since arrests have been made. Defendants, as the subjects of a public record, cannot decide what is or is not released, they said. Outlets argue that there is a legitimate public interest in the case because of its link to the “major human rights tragedy” of sex trafficking.
“In their role as surrogates for keeping the public informed about this matter, the Media Intervenors attend court proceedings and rely on state, county, and local public records, as well as judicial records, to gather information for this critical news story,” outlets said.
Kraft’s attorneys say law enforcement 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. In any case, they said, the video wouldn’t even become public record–and therefore eligible for release–until it’s sent to the defendant during the discovery process. They haven’t reached that point yet.
For now, they want the judge to issue a protective order on the video, at least until an upcoming April 26 hearing on a motion to suppress it outright from the criminal case.
“Should the Videos be prematurely released–only to later be deemed illegal–Mr. Kraft would obviously suffer irreparable harm, for he would have no mechanism to prevent the further dissemination of the illegally obtained Videos,” attorneys said.
[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images]