Florida judge temporarily blocks release of Robert Kraft surveillance videos

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft got a victory in court on Tuesday. (AP)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft got a victory in court on Tuesday. (AP)

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has scored a small victory, as a Florida judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the release of surveillance videos of Kraft and at least 14 others from visits to Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

Via the Boston Globe, Judge Leonard Hanser sided with Kraft and his attorneys and issued a protective order preventing news outlets from acquiring the videos, citing Kraft’s right to a fair trial.

Florida public records law stipulates that such videos must be made public.

Kraft has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of solicitation of prostitution after paying for sex acts at Orchids of Asia in Jupiter, Fla. in January. He has pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.

Hanser’s order does have limitations: he rules that the tapes will not be released until a jury is sworn in if Kraft’s case does go to trial, prosecutors decide to drop the charges, or “any other time at which the court finds the fair trial rights of the defendant are not at risk.”

Hanser wrote in his ruling: “A 78-year-old man walks into a day spa and ... he allegedly engages in illegal sexual activity. That seems like a rather tawdry but fairly unremarkable event. But if that man is the owner of the most successful franchise in, arguably, the most popular professional sport in the United States, an entirely different dynamic arises, especially if the encounter is captured on video tape, and the incident is the focus of much media attention and pretrial publicity.

“The Court concludes that Defendant’s right to a fair trial requires the disputed video tape be withheld from Intervenors for a limited duration.”

Police set up the cameras at the day spa as part of an investigation into an alleged human trafficking ring, but thus far no one has been charged with trafficking.

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