Robert Kraft does not want you to see the videotape of his visits to Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The sheriff who led the prostitution and human trafficking sting that ensnared the New England Patriots owner says Kraft might not get his way.
‘They are probably going to get released’
Earlier this week, Kraft and over a dozen other defendants who have been charged with solicitation filed a motion in Palm Beach County Circuit Court to have the surveillance videos of their actions blocked from release.
But Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said on Thursday that may not happen because to him there’s no legal reason to seal them from public view.
“I do think ultimately they are probably going to get released,” Snyder told CNBC. “Once a case is over, it’s not an ongoing investigation. There has to be a specific reason not to release a public record. And the fact that there is sexual activity is not an exemption.”
Kraft has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution, and pleaded not guilty. He is due to appear in court on Thursday.
State open-records law will be followed
The protection order filed by Kraft and others on Wednesday would “preclude any party from copying or permitting, facilitating, making or granting any public access to the evidence gathered during the investigation at issue, including any video evidence related thereto, pending further order of the Court.”
It also notes that since the case is ongoing, the videos are currently exempt from public disclosure. But once the case has been closed, Snyder said he would follow Florida’s open-records law, and he believes other authorities would likely do the same.
“The question is if they plead guilty and the case goes away, will it be subject to public record?” Snyder said. “I think the answer is likely yes. But until then there is a court order that seals those files.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Kraft and others had been offered a deferred prosecution deal; but the deal was reportedly a “non-starter” for Kraft because he would have to review the evidence and admit that if the case went to trial he would be found guilty.
If Kraft accepted the deal, the videos would remain sealed.
Could the sheriff be trying to send Kraft a message? As in, take the deal or they’ll come out?
‘It’s pretty ugly’
According to police, Kraft visited Orchids of Asia on Jan. 19 and 20, paying for sexual services from a different woman each day. Police in Jupiter, where Orchids is located, had several hidden cameras in the facility.
Snyder said he has seen some of the surveillance videos, calling the contents “explicit, sexual and graphic.”
“I watched and just left the room. There is nothing to see,” he said. “It’s pretty ugly.”
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