On Wednesday, the Palm Beach County Prosecutor’s Office in the prostitution case involving New England Patriot’s owner, Robert Kraft, announced their intention to release a video that allegedly shows Kraft, and 24 other men, receiving sexual services at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
Shortly after the announcement, Kraft’s legal team filed an emergency motion aiming to prevent its release.
Why File the Motion?
According to Kraft’s lawyers, releasing the video would violate their client’s constitutional rights and ability to receive a fair trial. Specifically, they have indicated that if the Prosecutor’s Office releases the video, they would be engaging in “gross prosecutorial misconduct” by moving to release the videos, despite having told a judge last week they would hold off doing so.
Prosecutors believe that Florida’s “open-records” law, compels them to release the evidence to the media, because they are the custodian of the records.
But, for many in the legal realm, this could present significant and potentially unconstitutional legal issues that would prevent Kraft from having a fair and impartial jury trial, as provided under the United States Constitution.
#1—Releasing the Video Prior to Admissibility Ruling Would Be Unconstitutional
Last Friday, Judge Leonard Hanser did not rule on whether to release the video to the media, but asked all parties to submit proposed orders in the case by Tuesday.
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, police officers are prohibited from conducting “unreasonable” searches and seizures unless supported by “probable cause” or a “valid warrant.” But, what happens when law enforcement obtains certain incriminating evidence that violates the Fourth Amendment?
An exception to the Fourth Amendment, an exclusionary rule exists, known as the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, established in 1920 by the Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States decision, evidence is inadmissible in court if it was derived from evidence that was illegally obtained.
As it pertains to Kraft, his attorneys believe, as outlined in court documents, that investigators provided false information in their affidavit in order to obtain a search warrant for the sting operation. Thus, under the exclusionary rule, the video would be inadmissible in court as the result of an illegal search warrant.
A hearing on this matter is scheduled for April 26.
#2—Releasing the Video Would Violate Kraft’s ‘Right to Privacy’
Another major issue surrounding the video, according to Kraft’s lawyers, is that the video is “basically pornography.” Consequently, they have asked the judge to prevent the videos’ release to not just the news media, but to keep the video out of the trial.
“Mr. Kraft has an obvious and profound stake in any potential disclosure of the sensitive materials at issue, which, among other things, depict him naked, and should therefore be permitted to intervene for the sake of protecting his interests and informing this Court’s decision,” the defense motion said.