Video recordings that Florida authorities say show New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men paying for sex acts at a massage parlor will not be allowed as evidence in criminal cases against them.
Kraft's Fourth Amendment rights to protection against unreasonable search and seizure were violated when Florida police secretly taped him allegedly paying for sex at the Orchids of Asia Spa in Fort Lauderdale, an appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
The decision lays the groundwork for the misdemeanor solicitation case against Kraft, the CEO of the Kraft Group, to be dismissed for lack of evidence, according to the Associated Press.
The police deployed "extreme" tactics in investigating the multi-county case, Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals said in its decision.
"While there will be situations which may warrant the use of the techniques at issue, the strict Fourth Amendment safeguards developed over the past few decades must be observed.
"To permit otherwise would yield unbridled discretion to agents of law enforcement and the government, the antithesis of the constitutional liberty of people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures."
Kraft was charged in February 2019 after police say he was twice recorded receiving and paying for sex acts as part of a sweeping months-long investigation of human trafficking involving the spa.
The billionaire businessman apologized, saying he has "extraordinary respect for women."
Florida prosecutors argued that the video evidence of Kraft and others paying for the sex acts was necessary in order to obtain felony trafficking convictions against the spa.
The case against the spa would continue regardless of the outcome for Kraft, the AP report said. It was unclear if the NFL would punish Kraft separately under its conduct policy.