Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft appeared in Palm Beach County court yesterday and the judge canceled a ‘calendar call’ hearing for today, which Kraft had been ordered to attend.
The purpose of that hearing was to determine if prosecutors and the defense were ready to go to trial. They are not.
That means Kraft will not appear in court today for a status hearing on his two misdemeanor prostitution charges two which he has plead not guilty.
Last week, Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that surveillance video of Kraft inside a private massage room at the spa cannot be admissible as evidence at trial because it broke federal privacy law.
Prosecutors then had a choice, drop the charges against Kraft or appeal.
Prosecutors said they plan to appeal Judge Hanser’s decision. The trial is on hold until the three judge panel rules on prosecutors appeal.
The billionaire businessman Kraft, 77, is accused of getting sexually serviced for cash during two visits at the spa on consecutive days, which were captured by secret surveillance cameras that police had placed there.
The second of those visits occurred hours before he watched his Patriots defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
Without video evidence, prosecutors may find it difficult, if not impossible, to convict any of the men at trial.
The warrant failed to instruct police on how to minimize the impact of recording on female clients of the spa, who were not suspected of seeking sex for pay, and also failed to tell them how to minimize the surveillance of male clients “receiving lawful services,” Hanser ruled.
Kraft’s lawyer, William Burck, said in a statement that Palm Beach County State’s Attorney Dave “Aronberg is acknowledging he has no case without the illegal video recordings that four Florida judges have now found to be unconstitutional.”
The prosecution’s appeal of Hanser’s ruling will be heard by the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County.