Palm Beach County Judge Joseph Marx has ruled out making alleged videos of several men public – reportedly including Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — at the Orchids of Asia spa in Florida.
By: Kevin Keilly
The pending case is against the spa’s accused madam and masseuse. The one-hundred-plus hours of video that law enforcement officials said were shot inside and outside the Jupiter, Fla., spa will remain unseen by the public.
The judge ruled that “the massive media firestorm that’s centered around the bust would taint the jury pool so much that, even considering Florida’s strong open-records laws, the videos will remain under seal,” reported the Boston Herald.
“Defendants are guaranteed a fair and impartial trial by jury, not a trial by community or in the press,” wrote Judge Marx in his order.
According to the Herald, the “highest-profile man of the dozens charged in the sting was Kraft, the 77-year-old billionaire owner of the Patriots. Kraft is fighting misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution by patronizing the alleged “rub-and-tug” spa twice in January on the weekend of the Patriots’ AFC Championship victory. Kraft, who has a condo in tony Palm Beach, pleaded not guilty earlier this year to the charges. He later issued a public apology, saying, “I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”
The complaint alleges that the police department had obtained “overwhelming evidence that certain masseuses were engaging in low-level prostitution” well before commencing the “sneak and peek” operation, making video surveillance of all customers (including those getting massages without sexual activity) unnecessary, reported profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. “The complaint also alleges that the video generated by the surveillance operation has become, essentially, leverage in the broader effort to obtain plea deals from persons charged with soliciting prostitution, with the potential public release of the videos exacerbating the violation of the privacy rights of persons who received massages and nothing more.”
The latest chapter in the ongoing melodrama saw prosecuting attorneys accuse Kraft’s defense attorneys of lying. In fact, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office filed a motion Tuesday asking that attorneys Alex Spiro and William Burck be held in contempt.
Prosecutors have claimed that in court last week, “Spiro falsely accused Jupiter police officer Scott Kimbark of telling other officers he would lie to justify the traffic stop of another Orchids of Asia Day Spa customer,” reported NBC News. “Burck denied the allegations Tuesday in a phone interview with NBC News, calling them “false, reckless and unethical.” “Alex Spiro and our firm will not be intimidated by the state attorney and their efforts to smear us with false allegations and will not deter us from defending our client from what we have contended are unconstitutional illegal acts,” Burck said, adding that he plans to file a response in court.”