PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft were back in court Friday in an effort to have video evidence which allegedly shows him paying for sex acts twice at a Jupiter spa thrown out.
“They have to show the court and demonstrate to the court and prove to the court that defendant Robert Kraft has standing to make an allegation that his 4th amendment rights were violated, that he actually had a legally recognized expectation of privacy when he was in the spa paying for sex from the prostitutes inside the spa,” said Assistant State Attorney Greg Kridos.
Kraft’s attorneys filed a motion saying the police violated his constitutional right to privacy when they secretly installed video cameras at the Orchids of Asia day spa in January. They want those videos thrown out and the case and sealed.
Prosecutors say Kraft had no expectation of privacy either on January 19th or 20th when those videos were taken at the spa in Jupiter.
Kraft’s attorneys also argued planting secret cameras in the spa was a government over reach and that police had no reason to go to such extreme measures.
A police officer on the stand explained to defense attorneys that the cameras used to take the videos had to be kept secret.
“The spa owner and employees did not know about cameras. Correct,” he was askek.
“Correct,” replied Jupiter Detective Andrew Sharp.
“Customers of the spa didn’t know about these cameras,” he was asked
“Correct,” replied Sharp.
“In fact, you took great measures to hide the cameras, correct. You put holes in tiles and the ceiling.”
“I can’t divulge that,” said Sharp.
Kraft was one of 25 men caught in the sting operation.
The original case was a human trafficking investigation. So far, no one has been charged with trafficking. Prosecutors say police had every right to ask for and get permission to record those “sneak and peek” videos.
“An individual that is in a business establishment, which no ties to that establishment, much less there to engage in a crime, has absolutely no expectation of privacy,” said Kridos.
The hearing follows a judge’s ruling Tuesday that the video will not be released to the public until after the trial is underway or the case is otherwise adjudicated.
In his Tuesday ruling to temporarily seal the video, Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser cited Kraft’s fair trial rights. He ruled it can be released once a jury is sworn, the case is resolved via plea agreement or the prosecutors decide they no longer want to pursue the charges.
Hundreds of people were charged in the sting involving several massage parlors and day spas in Florida.
The billionaire NFL owner was charged in February with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution after being accused of paying for sex. He has pleaded not guilty.
Several media outlets, including CBS4 News, have argued that the video should be made public.
If the video is released, it wouldn’t be in the case against Kraft, but in the case against the spa owner Hua Zhang and manager Lei Wang.
Wang and Zhang have pleaded not guilty to charges that include maintaining a house of prostitution.