Robert Kraft reportedly gained a big court victory on Wednesday, according to Dan Mennella of Radio.com. A federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that video recordings that Florida authorities say show the New England Patriots owner and other men paying for sex acts at a Fort Lauderdale massage parlor will not be allowed as evidence in the respective criminal cases against them.
The ruling said Kraft’s fourth-amendment right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure were violated when Fort Lauderdale police videotaped several men allegedly paying for sex at Orchids of Asia Spa.
Mennella wrote that the decision lays the groundwork for Kraft to have the charges against him thrown out entirely. The appeals court said “extreme measures” were used in order to amass evidence against Kraft and the others who were charged in the prostitution sting.
“While there will be situations which may warrant the use of the techniques at issue, the strict Fourth Amendment safeguards developed over the past few decades must be observed,” the ruling stated. “To permit otherwise would yield unbridled discretion to agents of law enforcement and the government, the antithesis of the constitutional liberty of people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Kraft was first arrested in February 2019 after police said he was taped twice paying for sex at the location under investigation. The recordings that caught the Patriots’ owner were part of what law enforcement said was a months-long investigation.
Prosecutors argued in numerous hearings that the videotapes were a necessary part of the investigation. The end goal was for police to obtain felony trafficking convictions against the spa. They argued that Kraft and the others were caught up in what had been focusing on the location and the people who owned it.
At the same time, they still charged Kraft and were looking to pursue those charges. It’s also been reported that the ruling doesn’t destroy the case against the spa. Law enforcement will simply not be able to use the purported evidence on the tapes.
While Kraft seems to be close to having his case dismissed by prosecutors, it’s not known if he might eventually be disciplined by the NFL. So far, the league has said it would not issue any kind of punishment until the criminal case was settled.
With the outcome in Florida appearing to be reaching a conclusion, commissioner Roger Goodell could issue some sort edict against the Patriots owner.