Attorneys for Robert Kraft are accusing the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office of tainting the jury pool and media of being “hostile” in their coverage of his criminal case in the latest legal bid to block the release of alleged videos of the billionaire cavorting with prostitutes in a Florida massage parlor.
The concerns are raised in a letter lawyers Jack Goldberger, William Burck and Alex Spiro fired off Tuesday to Judge Leonard Hanser of the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida in West Palm Beach ahead of an April 26 hearing in which they will formally argue for suppressing the police surveillance tapes as evidence should the New England Patriots owner’s case reach trial.
Hanser, who is considering whether to seal the tapes with an indefinite protective order in the meantime, asked the attorneys to submit an evidentiary basis for why dissemination and broadcasting of the videos would jeopardize the 77-year-old widower’s right to a fair trial. They responded by providing Hanser with press articles they assert are “evidence that hostile, inflammatory information regarding Mr. Kraft has already been circulated in the Palm Beach area.”
The letter continues, “These articles demonstrate that if the videos themselves were to be released to the media, the videos would be widely broadcast in Palm Beach and potential jurors would be prematurely exposed to the central evidence in this case through the prism of negative tabloid reporting.”
Taking their position one step further, the defense suggested the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office “has already engaged in conduct that has tainted the jury pool,” citing a March 20 press conference in which they told Hanser State Attorney Dave Aronberg “referred to alleged human trafficking no less than 30 times.”
Kraft, through his counsel, had pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
Kraft is accused in a Feb. 22 Jupiter Police Department report of being caught on surveillance video receiving and paying for sexual services from two prostitutes ages 45 and 58 at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., on Jan. 19, and again with the 45-year-old on Jan. 20 — the same day the Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs to clinch the AFC Championship.
The spa had been under investigation for suspected criminal activity, including human trafficking, since October, police said at the time.