Prosecutors said earlier in the day in court filings that they
would release the recordings, which were captured by police
using hidden cameras, in response to public records requests
under Florida's expansive open government laws.
But Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx, who is overseeing the cases
involving the spa's owner and manager, ruled that the video
would remain sealed pending an April 29 hearing, when he will
consider whether the evidence should be suppressed, according to
Lawyers for Kraft, who has apologized for his actions at the
Orchids of Asia Spa but pleaded not guilty to the charges, on
Friday asked the judge handling Kraft's case to suppress the
videotaped evidence of their client, saying it amounted to
"basically pornography." A hearing on that matter is scheduled
for next week.
In a letter filed with the court on Thursday, Kraft's lawyers
accused prosecutors of committing "gross prosecutorial
misconduct" by suggesting they would release the footage before
its legality has been established.
Authorities in February announced misdemeanor charges against
the 77-year-old Kraft and 24 other men for soliciting
prostitution, part of a broader investigation of sex trafficking
at massage parlors.
Media companies including ABC and ESPN opposed Kraft's motion,
saying the judge would violate Florida's public records laws by
suppressing the video.
Kraft purchased the Patriots, one of the National Football
League's most successful franchises, in 1994. The team won its
sixth Super Bowl under his ownership in February.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax;
Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler)
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