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US: Florida Decision Likely Clears Pats Owner of Soliciting Sex

 

The Associated Press

FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft points to fans as his team warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Florida prosecutors said Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, that they will not appeal a court’s decision to block video allegedly showing Kraft paying for massage parlor sex, making it likely the charges against him will be dropped. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida prosecutors said Monday that they won’t appeal a court’s decision blocking video that allegedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for massage parlor sex, making it likely the charges against him will be dropped.

If the state challenged the decision to the Florida Supreme Court and lost, it could have “broader, negative implications” on future law enforcement investigations beyond the Kraft case, the Florida Attorney General’s Office said.

Last month, the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal found that Jupiter police violated the rights of Kraft and others when they secretly installed video cameras inside massage rooms at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in early 2019. The court then blocked use of the video footage at trial.

“Based on that analysis … the decision was made not to seek further discretionary review,” attorney general spokeswoman Kylie Mason said in an email to The Associated Press.

The state’s decision means the charges against Kraft and about 20 other men will likely be dismissed. The recordings, which have not been made public, are the only known potential evidence that the men paid for sex.

Felony charges against the Orchids of Asia spa owners and employees might proceed as there is other evidence against them, such as financial records.

Kraft’s attorneys declined comment on the decision, but filed a motion Monday asking that the recordings be destroyed so they could never be released to the public. They said Kraft might be willing to pay the state’s costs if anyone challenges a destruction order.

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