Patriots owner Robert Kraft wins key court decision as judge throws out explicit video evidence

Patriots owner Robert Kraft picked up a major victory in court on Monday when a judge in Palm Beach County ruled that the explicit video from Kraft's case can't be used in court. 

Kraft's legal team filed a motion to suppress the video back in April and Judge Leonard Hanser granted that motion in a move that will make it difficult for the prosecution to win a conviction against the Patriots owner. Kraft has been in a legal battle in Florida since Feb. 22 when police in Palm Beach County announced that he was being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution. 

One of the key pieces of evidence in the case against the Kraft was the video, which purportedly shows an employee at the spa performing a sexual act on the Patriots owner, according to the police report from the incident. One of the sheriffs involved in the case described the footage as "explicit sexual and graphic." 

Kraft's legal team has been trying to keep the video from going public by asserting that the surveillance footage was illegally obtained. According to William Burck, the lead attorney for the Patriots' owner, police violated Kraft's constitutional rights by making the video. 

Judge Hanser basically agreed with that assessment in his 26-page court order that was released Monday and obtained by CBS 4 in Miami

"The Court finds that the search warrant does not contain required minimization guidelines, and the minimization techniques employed in this case did not satisfy constitutional requirements. Consequently, the court grants defendant's motion to suppress and all evidence against the Defendant obtained through and connection with the search warrant is suppressed," Hanser wrote. 

Although Kraft was in a public setting at the time the video was taken, Hanser ruled that the Patriots owner should have had an "expectation of privacy" while visiting the spa, because it's an establishment where people remove all or most of their clothing. 

Hanser's other issue with the video seemed to be the fact that authorities filmed plenty of innocent people when they set up their surveillance sting at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January. 

"The fact that some totally innocent women and men had their entire lawful time spent in a massage room fully recorded and viewed intermittently by a detective-monitor is unacceptable," Hanser wrote. 

In another victory for Kraft, Hanser also ruled that the police stop involving the Patriots owner on Jan. 19 -- a traffic stop where authorities were able to positively identify him -- was an unlawful search. Due to that ruling, all evidence obtained during the traffic stop has also been suppressed. 

If you're wondering what might happen next, there basically seems to be four options, according to ESPN's T.J. Quinn. Kraft's legal team could file a motion to have the case dismissed since most of the state's case was based on the spa video. On the state's end, the prosecution in Palm Beach County can either appeal the motion to suppress the video evidence, try to go to court without the video evidence or just dismiss the charges. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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