- A Florida judge granted an order on Monday to prevent the release of New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft’s massage parlor surveillance videos.
- Kraft was charged in February with soliciting prostitution as part of a larger sex trafficking ring spanning at least 10 spa and massage parlors across the state.
- The highly controversial footage, which has been sought out by various media outlets, includes Kraft and 24 other men who were allegedly involved in the sex acts.
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Robert Kraft’s massage parlor surveillance videos will not be released to the public anytime soon, per a protection order granted by a Florida judge on Monday.
Judge Joseph Marx said he would “piggyback” on a previous order by another judge who temporarily blocked the release of the videos last week, according to USA Today. The highly controversial footage, which has been sought out by various media outlets, has previously been made available through Florida’s Sunshine Laws, which allow public access to Florida’s public records, including video. The footage procured by the police includes Kraft and 24 other men who were allegedly involved in sex acts at a Florida massage parlor.
The New England Patriot owner was charged in February with soliciting prostitution as part of a larger sex trafficking ring spanning at least 10 spa and massage parlors across the state. He pleaded not guilty in March to those two misdemeanour charges, opting to take the case to court. Since then, his attorneys have been vocal about how the release of the videos would violate their client’s constitutional rights and infringe on his chance for a fair trial, CNN reported.
Monday’s ruling about the videos was made during a hearing in the cases of Hua Zhang, the spa’s owner, and Lei Wang, the spa’s manager. Katie Phang, Wang’s attorney, had previously argued in court filings for a protective order on the videos because she alleged, the videos were improperly obtained.
Marx said that the videos can be released once the trial juries are sworn in each case, the cases are resolved through a plea agreement, the state drops the charges, or the judge determines that the fair trial rights of the men are not at risk, according to The New York Times.
Dana McElroy, who represents 10 media companies including The New York Times, ABC, The Associated Press, and ESPN, in the suit, said in response to Marx’s ruling that the public has the right to see the videos. The media companies will now have 30 days to appeal the ruling.
“Here what the defendants are asking this court to do is seal records that undoubtedly are public without anything but speculation that they will jeopardize their fair trial rights,” McElroy said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Alex Sprio, one of Kraft’s lawyers, said on Monday that by releasing the videos, “you will allow people to sit at home and click on videos of naked people getting massages.”
Last month, Kraft released a statement regarding the incident. “I am truly sorry,” he said. “Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”
- Read more:
- Prosecutor in Robert Kraft massage parlor case concedes ‘no human trafficking’ found in investigation despite previous claims
- Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition asking Gillette to pull its name off of Patriots’ stadium following charges against team owner Robert Kraft
- Trump reportedly still wants Robert Kraft at the Patriots White House Super Bowl party despite Florida massage-parlor prostitution scandal
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