Sex offenses have serious legal and financial penalties and can also impact your reputation. New England Patriot’s owner and billionaire Robert Kraft was charged for soliciting prostitution in Jupiter Florida over several days in Jan. 2019. But the case was dismissed when a court granted a criminal defense motion to throw out vital prosecution evidence late last month.
Kraft and 24 other people were charged in Feb. 2019 after a multi-county investigation of massage parlors. As part of their investigation, police secretly installed video cameras in the lobbies and massage rooms of various spas.
Kraft was charged with the misdemeanor offense of solicitation. Evidence included surveillance videotape of Kraft inside massage rooms at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter. Kraft pled not guilty but publicly apologized for his actions last March.
At trial, Kraft sought to exclude the use of this video. Reportedly, this was the only evidence showing that Kraft and other defendants allegedly paid for sex.
In Aug., the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Jupiter police violated Kraft’s rights and the rights of other defendants by installing video cameras inside the spa’s massage rooms. The appeals court excluded this evidence from trial.
The prosecutors argued that the recordings were needed to convict the spa owners of felonies because there had to be evidence that they received payments from prostitutes. They said that installation of these cameras was the only way to obtain this evidence.
Prosecutors claimed that they cannot proceed with their case without the videotape evidence. Florida’s attorney general will not appeal this ruling because another adverse ruling could have wide-range and negative consequences on other law enforcement investigations in the future.
Kraft filed a motion seeking the destruction of the recordings. He may pay the state’s costs of the destruction order is challenged.
Exclusion of illegally seized evidence can protect you against convictions in some cases. An attorney can help assure that your rights are protected.