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Kraft Massage Parlor Video's Release Banned —for Now

Judge says it won't be released until case against New England Patriots owner is resolved
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2019 4:44 PM CDT
In this April 10, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft leaves his seat during an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat, in New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

(Newser) – A video that police say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying a massage parlor worker for sex should not be publicly released for now because it would ruin his chance for a fair trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. Circuit Judge Leonard Hanser accepted arguments by Kraft's attorneys that releasing the video would likely make it impossible to seat a jury for his trial on misdemeanor prostitution charges. He said the video shouldn't be handed to the news media as a public record until a jury is seated, a plea agreement is reached or the state drops the case, the AP reports. Hanser wrote that under normal circumstances, an older man allegedly paying for sexual services would be "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," Hanser wrote.

He said the video would be shown widely on television and on the internet and it would be difficult for him to find unbiased jurors. Kraft, who has pleaded not guilty but has issued an apology for his conduct, was one of 25 men charged with solicitation after police secretly installed cameras at the Orchids of Asia massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida, in what authorities initially said was an investigation into human trafficking. Prosecutors have since said they found no evidence of trafficking at the spa. Police say the video shows Kraft and other customers engaged in sexual acts with spa masseuses. Separately, Kraft's attorneys are seeking to suppress the video on grounds that it is an invasion of privacy and that the search warrant to install the cameras was obtained using untrue statements indicating that authorities had found potential evidence of human trafficking. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Friday. (Other customers who got legal massages are also suing.)

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