clearn.png
Friday July 10th, 2020 9:19PM

Patriots owner's prostitution case heads to appellate court

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors charging New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with twice buying sex from massage parlor prostitutes will attempt to save their case this week by arguing to an appeals court that his rights weren't violated when police secretly video-recorded him in the act.

Prosecutors will tell the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal during an online hearing Tuesday that a county judge erred when he invalidated the January 2019 search warrant allowing police to install secret cameras at Orchids of Asia spa as part of an alleged sex trafficking investigation.

The judge said the warrant didn’t sufficiently protect the privacy of innocent customers who received legal massages, and he barred the videos’ use at trial as well as testimony about what they showed. If the ruling stands, it will deal a fatal blow to the prosecution's case.

“Mr. Kraft's guilt is a virtual certainty” and he has no right to benefit from any possible mistakes police made involving innocent customers, Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey DeSousa wrote in court documents.

Kraft's attorneys vehemently disagreed, arguing that if the three-justice panel allows the videos' use, “civil liberties cherished in Florida and beyond” will be endangered.

“If the state wins this appeal, then everyone loses, not just the accused,” attorney Frank Shepherd wrote. “Government could run roughshod over privacy and constitutional rights while evading scrutiny.”

The Jupiter police recordings led to misdemeanor charges against Kraft and two dozen other alleged Orchids of Asia customers. The spa owners and some employees are charged with prostitution-related felonies.

Most cases are in limbo while the appeals are heard. If prosecutors can’t use the videos, they would almost certainly dismiss any misdemeanor charges awaiting trial. Some defendants took plea deals but Kraft refused. The felony cases could proceed, as those have other evidence besides the videos.

Kraft, a 79-year-old widower and part-time Palm Beach resident, has pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology. He faces a possible one-year jail sentence if convicted, but would likely receive a fine, community service and other sanctions. Kraft, whom Forbes Magazine ranks as the 82nd richest American with a worth of almost $7 billion, is employing several high-priced attorneys to fight the charges.

DeSousa submitted several arguments against Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser's ruling. Among them:

— The warrant is valid because police minimized any privacy invasion by having only three detectives monitor video. Any further minimization, such as recording only snippets of each massage, would have made the investigation impossible.

— Kraft illegally paid for sex and is lawfully covered by the warrant, even if the justices determine police violated innocent customers' privacy rights.

— If the warrant is invalid, the detectives relied on it “in good faith” and a sanction banning the video is too extreme.

Shepherd submitted several counterarguments for Kraft. They include:

— Detectives' privacy protection efforts were insufficient because they recorded seminude men and women receiving legal massages, making the Kraft recordings also illegal.

— Police had enough evidence to charge the spa owners with felonies without recording, making the cameras “wholly gratuitous."

— The evidence detectives presented to obtain the magistrate's warrant approval was “deliberately misleading,” negating any argument they acted in good faith.

The justices won’t immediately rule after the hearing; decisions usually takes weeks. The losing side will likely appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, which could accept the case or let the justices’ ruling stand.

Authorities say the Orchids of Asia investigation was part of a multicounty probe into possible sex trafficking by spa owners who they believe brought women from China and elsewhere to work as prostitutes. About 300 people were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors, but no trafficking charges were pursued — prosecutors say they received no cooperation from masseuses whom they suspect were trafficked.

According to police, Kraft's chauffeur drove him to Orchids of Asia on the evening of Jan. 19, 2019, where detectives recorded him engaging in a sex act with two women and then paying an undetermined amount in cash.

Investigators said Kraft returned the next morning and engaged in recorded sex acts with a woman before paying with a $100 bill and another bill.

Hours later, Kraft was in Kansas City for the AFC Championship game, where his Patriots defeated the Chiefs. His team then won the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots’ sixth NFL championship under his ownership.

Prosecutors offered to drop the charges if Kraft entered a diversion program for first-time offenders. That would include an admission he would be found guilty if the case went to trial, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and attending a class on the dangers of prostitution and its connection to human trafficking.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday on the court's YouTube channel.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Consumer News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Patriots owner's prostitution case heads to appellate court
Prosecutors charging New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with buying sex from massage parlor prostitutes are trying to save their case
1:33AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Beyoncé’s message, epic performances stand out at BET Awards
Beyoncé said voting in the upcoming election could help end a “racist and unequal system" in America while accepting the humanitarian award at the BET Awards
1:21AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: India reports nearly 20,000 new virus cases
India has reported nearly 20,000 new coronavirus infections, a new record for the country, as several states reimpose partial or full lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus
1:06AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP sources: NBC gets US Open as Fox gets out of contract
The Associated Press has learned NBC is getting the U.S. Open back this year
10:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
Hamlin caps marathon day of racing at Pocono with 4th win
Denny Hamlin held off Kevin Harvick on Sunday night to win the second Cup race of the weekend at Pocono Raceway and flip the result of the opener
10:19PM ( 3 hours ago )
Pats fined $1.1M, lose pick for filming game last season
The New England Patriots have been fined $1.1 million by the NFL for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a game last season
10:08PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Former Redskins assistant, "Hogs" creator Bugel dies at 80
Former Washington Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel has died
3:05PM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Morehouse cancels football, cross country
Morehouse College canceled its football and cross country seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic
9:45PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: UNLV suspends on-campus workouts after positives
Morehouse College canceled its football and cross country seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic
9:40PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Football
California's alleged Golden State Killer set to plead guilty
A 74-year-old former police officer is tentatively set to plead guilty Monday to being the elusive Golden State Killer
11:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
BET Awards highlight Black voices as artists turn political
The 2020 BET Awards served as an extension of the voices of Black people protesting in the streets about Black life and the inequalities Black people face daily, as artists used their performances to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement, civil rights and the lives of those lost in the hands of police officers, including George Floyd
11:44PM ( 2 hours ago )
DaBaby pays tribute to George Floyd at BET Awards
Performing as a police officer pressed his knee on his neck, replicating the last few moments of George Floyd’s life, mutli-platinum rapper DaBaby rapped a verse from the Black Lives Matter remix of his hit song “Rockstar” at the BET Awards
10:10PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
In NYC, marking 50th anniversary of Pride, no matter what
There were protests, and rainbow flags, and performances — it was LGBTQ Pride, after all
10:06PM ( 3 hours ago )
World hits coronavirus milestones amid fears worse to come
The world has surpassed two sobering coronavirus milestones -- 500,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million confirmed cases -- and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted reopenings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come
9:45PM ( 4 hours ago )
Look away, Dixie: Mississippi to lose rebel emblem from flag
Mississippi legislators have taken historic votes to remove a Confederate battle emblem from their state flag
9:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Asian shares slide, following Wall St selloff on virus fears
Shares have fallen in Asia, tracking losses on Wall Street as rising virus cases cause some U.S. states to backtrack on pandemic reopenings
11:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Asia Today: Seoul considers new curbs as virus cases climb
South Korea has reported 42 new infections of COVID-19 as infections steadily climb in the greater capital area, forcing authorities to consider stronger social restrictions
10:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Charges possible after Philippines parade, dance
Another tragic milestone was passed Sunday in the coronavirus pandemic: 500,000 deaths worldwide
10:32PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Bar owners worry as virus surges in their workplaces
A Houston bar owner who believed he could no longer provide a safe environment for his staff, customers and himself felt he had no choice but to shut down his business
12:17PM ( 1 day ago )
US shoppers returned with vigor in May in partial rebound
American shoppers ramped up their spending on store purchases by a record 17.7% from April to May, delivering a dose of energy for retailers that have been reeling since the coronavirus shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months
1:46PM ( 1 week ago )
US retail sales up a record 17.7% in a partial rebound
U.S. retail sales jumped by a record 17.7% from April to May, with spending partially rebounding after the coronavirus had shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months
11:16AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Business - Consumer News
NFL's coaching summit highlights minority candidates
The biggest takeaway following the NFL’s two-day quarterback coaching summit is there’s no shortage of qualified minority candidates waiting for opportunities to be head coaches and coordinators
2:29PM ( 2 days ago )
Irish punter moving from dairy farm to Georgia Tech
David Shanahan took an unusual path for an Irish teenager but landed a full scholarship to become a punter for Georgia Tech. The 19-year-old Shanahan quit Gaelic football to concentrate on his punting and then attended Prokick Australia
10:51AM ( 2 days ago )
5 Things to Know for Today
Here are a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:12AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Beyoncé’s message, epic performances stand out at BET Awards
Beyoncé said voting in the upcoming election could help end a “racist and unequal system" in America while accepting the humanitarian award at the BET Awards
1:21AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: India reports nearly 20,000 new virus cases
India has reported nearly 20,000 new coronavirus infections, a new record for the country, as several states reimpose partial or full lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus
1:06AM ( 46 minutes ago )
Mississippi surrenders Confederate symbol from state flag
Mississippi will retire the last state flag in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem
1:02AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Beyond 'love,' Trump has little to show from N Korea talks
President Donald Trump is still waiting for his two years of one-on-one diplomacy with Kim Jong Un to pay off with a deal that eliminates the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons
12:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
Nissan officials face angry shareholders on red ink, scandal
Nissan Chief Executive Makoto Uchida is giving up half his pay after the Japanese automaker sank into the red amid plunging sales and plant closures in Spain and Indonesia
12:07AM ( 1 hour ago )