Dear God… why?
I recently asked if Patriots owner Bob Kraft might really be able to quash the video evidence against him in the Florida prostitution case. Now we have the answer and it’s a hard nope unless a judge steps in very soon. Prosecutors claim that they not only have the video of Kraft “engaged in activities” with a prostitute and paying her cash but that they planned to release it. Yesterday, a judge stepped in at the eleventh hour and blocked the release until he had a chance to rule on it, but it seems unlikely that he can stop this from happening. (ABC News)
The judge overseeing the case in which New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is charged with soliciting prostitution halted Florida prosecutors’ plans to release police surveillance video from a spa at which Kraft and two dozen other men have been charged with paying for and receiving sexual favors.
“I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx said in an emergency hearing on a conference call with the two parties and the media late Wednesday afternoon.
The drama began earlier Wednesday when Palm Beach County prosecutors indicated that they were preparing to release the potentially embarrassing surveillance video from inside the spa.
County officials said that the video would be released in response to public records requests in the cases of two women who are accused of facilitating the alleged prostitution at the Orchids Of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.
This is all unfolding because of Florida’s “Sunshine” law. It states that any records “made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business” are to be made available for public inspection. The only exceptions to the rule are cases where such records are specifically exempted by the state Legislature.
Normally, I’m all for transparency and find myself frequently suspicious of news outlets relying on anonymous sources or evidence that can’t be shown to the public. In this case, I’d just as soon make an exception. You say you’ve seen the video of Kraft “engaged” with a hooker and paying her? Good enough for me. We’ll take your word for it this time.
The problem here is that releasing the video could potentially backfire on the prosecutors. Assuming they have the goods, if this video comes out it’s going to be scandalous and soak up the news cycle. Kraft’s attorneys will claim that the state is trying Kraft in the court of public opinion before he’s ever had his day in front of a jury. (And they’re already leveling those accusations.)
Additionally, Kraft’s legal team is challenging the validity of the warrant originally allowing law enforcement to install the cameras at the spa. We don’t know if they’ll succeed in that effort, but if they do then the main piece of evidence the state has against him has gone out the window. At that point, between the lack of video to show the jury and the complaints about a show trial in the press, Kraft might just get out of this mess. Either way, this show is going to get ugly fast.