Sports

Massage parlor footage of Patriots owner suppressed in Florida case

Massage parlor footage of Patriots owner suppressed in Florida case

A Florida judged ruled Monday that prosecutors can not use surveillance video and other evidence in the prostitution solicitation case against National Football League team owner Robert Kraft.

In a major victory for Kraft, Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that Jupiter Police didn't follow proper procedure to install spy cams inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which Kraft was allegedly caught visiting twice in January. The state may appeal the ruling, but this represents a blow to the prosecution's case against him.

Kraft has been embroiled in a bitter and embrassing legal battle for weeks since he was charged with prostitution solicitation in February. Hanser explained that the police didn't do enough to protect the privacy of individuals who were receiving lawful massages.

Kraft's attorneys argued during a recent hearing aimed at throwing out the recordings that Florida law allowing audio wiretaps says they can only be used for serious felonies such as murder or kidnapping, not lesser offenses such as prostitution.

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Kraft's attorneys declined comment. "Consequently. all evidence against the Defendant obtained through and connection with the search warrant is suppressed". Authorities allege that the spa was tied to a human trafficking ring, necessitating the installation of surveillance cameras. He said the good news for prosecutors is Hanser found the police had probable cause to get the warrant, which could be key if the rest of his order is overturned.

Kraft - who bought the Patriots in 1994 and has seen New England win six Super Bowls in 10 trips since - was entangled in a multicounty investigation into several massage parlors.

ESPN's T.J. Quinn speculated that the development would lead to Kraft's lawyers filing a motion to dismiss the case due to lack of evidence. His team then won the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots' sixth National Football League championship under his ownership.