Robert Kraft scored not one, but two big wins on Monday in a Florida courtroom.
It was ordered by Judge Leonard Hanser that hidden camera footage which allegedly showed multiple women performing sex acts on the embattled billionaire for money could not be used as evidence in his upcoming trial.
Furthermore, the subsequent traffic stop of Kraft which was conducted on the basis of that video was also tossed by Judge Hanser, who ruled it was ‘unlawful.’
It was a crucial off-season victory for Kraft’s dream defense team of Alex Spiro, William Burck, and Jack Goldberger .
State’s Attorney Dave Aronberg and his team in Palm Beach County have yet to comment on this turn of events, but are no doubt hard at work preparing a motion to appeal Judge Hanser’s ruling.
The uphill battle that prosecutors were facing got a bit more steep on Friday when one of the women who is allegedly seen performing a sex act ion Kraft informed the court she would invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify.
Kraft’s defense team had been relentless in their quest to get the video evidence in the case thrown out, filing more than 20 motions over the past month
His attorneys listed a number of reasons why the tape should not be admissible in court, but it was ultimately their argument that Kraft had a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment that swayed then judge to rule in the defendant’s favor.
‘Seeking even legitimate services in a spa normally involves removing all or most of a person’s clothing, behavior almost as private as would occur in a home,’ wrote Judge Hanser.
He went on to state that it was the Court’s belief that ‘society objectively supports as reasonable’ an individual’s expectation of privacy in this instance.
There were also number of other points that had been made by the defense team which Judge Hanser agreed with in his motion, including the fact that police investigating the case took far too many liberties once a judge had signed off on a search warrant.
‘[F]irst the search warrant itself is insufficient,’ noted Judge Hanser.
‘[A]nd, second, minimization techniques were not employed.’
The most glaring example of the latter according to Judge Hanser was the fact that women were filmed by the hidden cameras despite there being no mention of the spa providing illegal services to female clients.
‘The fact that some totally innocent women and men had their entire lawful time spent in a massage room fully recorded and viewed intermittently by a detective-monitor is unacceptable and results from the lack of sufficient pre-monitoring written guidelines,’ stated Judge Hanser.
The investigation was not entirely problematic said Judge Hanser, who found that police did provide the judge who signed off on the warrant with enough probable cause to justify installing cameras at the spa.
It was how those cameras were installed, and what they recorded, that was an issue according to the court order.
Judge Hanser cited the fact that ‘more than one woman had a significant portion of her spa time viewed by a detective-monitor and the entirety of her spa time recorded and placed in Jupiter Police Department records’ as one problem with the police investigation.
The fact that law enforcement failed to ‘include instructions on minimizing the impact on women’ while conducting a ‘highly intrusive’ investigation at an establishment where there was a ‘high legitimate expectation of privacy’ is a a huge flaw in the warrant, declared Judge Hanser.
Kraft’s team was quick to fire off a motion in the wake of the ruling demanding that the protective order that is already in effect be amended to ensure that the footage from Orchids of Asia is never released to the public.
The defense team had not filed a Motion to Dismiss as of Thursday evening, but in asking for a stricter protective order spoke of Kraft walking free as though it were a foregone conclusion.
‘The court should make it abundantly clear that the state cannot make an end run around the court’s orders by simply dismissing its charges against Mr. Kraft and then releasing the videos with impunity,’ read the filing.