Judge Orders Kraft Massage Video Not be Released for Now
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A video that police say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying a masseuse for sex at a massage parlor should not be publicly released for now, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser accepted arguments by Kraft's attorneys that releasing the video could harm chances for a fair trial on misdemeanor prostitution charges, and ruled that it shouldn't be handed to the news media as a public record until either a jury is seated, a plea agreement is reached or the state drops the case. Kraft has pleaded not guilty.
He was one of several men charged with solicitation after police secretly installed cameras at the Orchids of Asia massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida, in what authorities initially said was an investigation into human trafficking. Prosecutors have since said they found no evidence of trafficking at the spa.
Police say the video shows Kraft and other customers engaged in sexual acts with masseuses at the spa. Separately, Kraft's attorneys are seeking to suppress the video on grounds that it is an invasion of privacy and that the search warrant to install the cameras was obtained using untrue statements indicating that authorities had found potential evidence of human trafficking at the spa.
At a hearing later Tuesday, attorneys for spa owner Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang planned to ask a judge to hold police and prosecutors responsible for what they argue may have been an unauthorized leak of the video.
The New York Daily News reported last week that someone anonymously contacted TheBlast.com saying they had video showing Kraft naked with another person, presumably one of the spa's massage therapists.
The report said the video was being shopped around, though it has not turned up on any online site.
Zhang and Wang also have pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges.