Prosecutors in Florida on Wednesday said they will make public the police surveillance videos from inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, meaning the tapes of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and two dozen other men paying for sex.
Kraft’s attorney, William Burck, has been fighting in court to keep the videos out of public view, arguing last week that “it’s basically pornography.”
Attorneys for media companies ESPN and ABC had been arguing for the release of the tapes, citing Florida’s public records law.
‘Cannot delay the release’
In court documents, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s office cited state law, and that it cannot wait for a judge to rule whether the videos should be kept sealed while Lei Wang, the alleged manager of Orchids of Asia, is prosecuted.
Wang’s lawyer had also asked for a judge to bar the release of the videos while her criminal case is proceeding.
Though a hearing had been set for May 17, Aronberg’s office wrote on Wednesday that it cannot wait that long.
“As the custodian of the records, [prosecutors] cannot delay the release of records to allow a person to raise a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents,” the office wrote. “The Public Records Act does not allow a custodian to delay the production of records to allow the resolution of a constitutional challenge to the release of the documents.”
They will stop the release only if told by a judge.
‘What is the reason?’
Kraft has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. Police say he visited Orchids of Asia on two occasions to pay for sex, including on the morning of the AFC championship game in January.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested a jury trial.
Last Friday, Burck asked Judge Leonard Hasner, “What is the reason the public needs to see the video itself?
“It’s basically pornography. There’s no interest in actually seeing the video unless you have a prurient interest in seeing the video.”
Kraft’s lawyers implied that Florida’s public records law is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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