The video evidence against Robert Kraft in his case for soliciting prostitution could get thrown out on a technicality, giving the Patriots’ owner an unequivocal legal win.
Thanks to some superb digging from WPTV, NBC’s affiliate in West Palm Beach, we know the court order allowing video surveillance inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa did not explicitly authorize recording. Though the police asked to “monitor and record” the activities inside of the spa, the judge’s order only includes the word “monitor.”
“We checked the paperwork,” WPTV.com writes. “The search warrant applications clearly ask for monitoring and recording permissions in the title of the document. However, the judge’s order granting those permissions only uses the word ‘monitor,’ not ‘monitor and record.’”
Martin County sheriff William Snyder, who said last week he expects Kraft’s video to eventually be released to the public, insists authorities acted lawfully. “We followed every protocol that the State Attorney and the judge required,” he said.
The difference between a request to “monitor and record” and an order that permits “monitoring” may seem semantical, and it is, but the two phrases don’t match up. Police specifically asked for permission to record and did not receive it.
It’s apparent that Kraft’s high-powered legal team is working to get the purported video surveillance evidence thrown out. On Friday, Kraft’s attorney William A. Burck said the tapes are illegal. “The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it,” he said in a statement.
Kraft waived his arraignment Tuesday and requested a jury trial. He’s pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor counts.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the owners’ meetings the league is still gathering all of the facts about the episode. “We’ll be fair and smart about it,” he said.
The NFL’s personal conduct policy does not account for guilt or innocence.