Florida prosecutors plan to release pixelated video that purportedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a Florida “massage parlor” where he is alleged to have paid for a sex act, CNN reports. Kraft’s attorneys maintain that releasing the video would jeopardize their client’s chance at a fair trial.
The billionaire businessman was arrested in Jupiter, Florida, on February 22, accused of having paid for a sex act at the Orchids of Asia massage parlor. Kraft and other plaintiffs, some of them also wealthy and powerful men, were all caught up in a multi-agency sting operation aimed at breaking up prostitution operations, particular at so-called massage parlors, as well as busting human-trafficking operations. Prosecutors initially claimed that the women who worked at the businesses were victims of human trafficking, although as of this writing prosecutors have failed to make those human-trafficking charges stick, as The Miami Herald reported weeks after Kraft’s arrest.
Kraft has steadfastly maintained his innocence ever since he was arrested, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanors, and has requested a jury trial.
Despite his intention to take his case to trial, Kraft in a statement last month issued an apology of sorts.
“I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my coworkers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”
— Complex (@Complex) April 17, 2019
As Kraft’s defense team prepares for the upcoming trial, prosecutors say they intend to release surveillance video of his “interactions” at the massage parlor that day.
What is meant by “surveillance video” remains unclear. Although police did manage to place secret video-recording devices inside the massage parlor, it’s not known if the video was taken from inside the parlor or from outside. What’s more, prosecutors plan to pixelate the video to obscure any pornographic images or sex acts that may have been caught on camera.
The video in question is not evidence in the case against Kraft, but rather, against some of the women caught up in the sting.
Still, though it will be pixelated and isn’t intended as evidence against their client, Kraft’s attorneys say that releasing the video would poison any potential jury pool and prevent Kraft from getting a fair trial. They have asked a judge not to release it; a judge gave them and the prosecution until Tuesday to provide compelling reasons not to release it.
Prosecutors say their hands are tied by Florida law and have to release the video to the public.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, when the video will be released once the judge has had a chance to consider both sets of arguments.