A federal judge in Florida has ordered the destruction of video that allegedly shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for massage parlor sex, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II on Friday ruled that the videos of Kraft and other customers must be wiped from existence, because the Jupiter police surveillance was deemed unlawful, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. Kraft’s attorneys had argued that the billionaire feared the tapes of him in the nude would be publicized on the internet.
A misdemeanor solicitation charge against Kraft was dropped in September after an appeals court ruled that video evidence couldn’t be used in the case. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg asked a judge to preserve that video.
Kraft, 79, and others were charged in February 2019 in a multicounty investigation of massage parlors that included the secret installation of video cameras in the spas’ lobbies and rooms. Police say the recordings show Kraft and other men engaging in sex acts with women and paying them.
Police say they recorded Kraft, a widower, paying for sex acts at the Orchids of Asia spa on consecutive days in January 2019. Kraft pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology for his actions.
The spa was shut down following a months-long investigation.
Aronberg argued the videos could still be used for a civil case. “The Office of the State Attorney cannot legally or ethically agree to the destruction of evidence relevant to this known, pending litigation,” Aronberg said in the court filing.
If not for the pending lawsuit, Aronberg said he doesn’t want the videos.
“To be abundantly clear, the Office of the State Attorney has no interest in maintaining possession of, or releasing to the public, any of the surveillance videos through these prosecutions,” the filing said.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.