Judge suppresses video evidence in Robert Kraft's solicitation case

Judge suppresses massage spa video of Patriots owner Robert Kraft

A judge in South Florida ruled Monday that prosecutors can't use video footage of Robert Kraft in a massage parlor, a victory for the New England Patriots owner.

The ruling is a major win for Kraft, who sought to suppress the purported evidence from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter. Hanser also ruled detectives can not testify about what they saw on the video or when they stopped Kraft.

Hanser ruled last month that - in the interest of ensuring a fair trial - the video would be withheld from the public, at least until a jury was sworn in, a plea agreement was reached or prosecutors dropped the case.

With the ruling Monday by Judge Leonard Hanser, the case against Kraft and the other men charged with solicitation of prostitution could be effectively dead.

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"Now that the Court has concluded that the Videoes were illegally obtained and subject to suppression, it follows that the public has no right to access these materials - which materials never should never come into existence in the first place, " Kraft's lawyers wrote. Prosecutors did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment, but they are likely to appeal.

Jupiter was part of a multicounty investigation of massage parlor prostitution and possible human trafficking that resulted in the arrests of about 300 men and the closure of 10 spas stretching 130 miles from Palm Beach to Orlando. Those videos, which will remain sealed, were a key form of evidence in the state's case against Kraft.

The New England Patriots owner was one of dozens of spa patrons allegedly caught on camera receiving illicit massages at the spa in January. His team then won the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots' sixth National Football League championship under his ownership.

Hanser has ordered Kraft to appear in court for a May 21 pretrial hearing.

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