With the legal battle between Palm Beach County (Florida) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft set to begin this week, both sides are now speaking out.
As things currently stand, Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28. The Patriots owner has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution. Police officiallyand during that announcement, they said a big part of their case was that they had surveillance video of Kraft visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Palm Beach County.
The video of Kraft is likely going to serve as a key piece of evidence in the case and it's a piece of evidence the two sides are already fighting over. The worst case scenario for Kraft would be for the video to be released to the public, which is what Martin County Sheriff William Snyder is expecting to happen. Snyder is the man who led the three-county sting that led to Kraft's arrest, and he fully expects the graphic video of Kraft -- and any other man caught in the sting -- will legally come out at some point.
"I do think ultimately they are probably going to get released," Snyder told CNBC on Thursday.
Although Snyder didn't specifically say if he's seen the Kraft video, he did admit that he has seen a few videos from the case. The sheriff described the footage as "explicit sexual and graphic."
"It's pretty ugly," Snyder said.
According to purportedly shows an employee at the spa performing a sexual act on the Patriots owner., the video
Kraft's legal team is 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.
"We've looked at … the law around the warrant for the video surveillance inside the spa, and we think it is a violation of the fourth amendment," Burck said, via the New York Post. "We also believe the traffic stop [made by police as the men left the spa] was illegal and a violation of the constitution."
Burck's goal is to get the video evidence thrown out, which would make it more difficult for the county to prosecute its case against Kraft.
"The state attorney should take a look how the evidence in this case was obtained by the police and explain how this evidence passes constitutional muster, because we don't see it," Burck said.
Earlier this week, Kraft's legal team filed a motion to suppress the evidence in the case, which would keep the prosecution from releasing the video and the motion got shot down.
"We put in a motion for a protective order of the evidence in this case, a standard request in any case to keep evidence protected until trial -- especially since the video evidence supposedly contains private moments between [two or more] people," Burck said. "We've been surprised and disappointed that the state attorney did not sign on to the protective order, because it is a standard procedure in a criminal case. They declined to agree to the protective order."
If Kraft's legal team has proven one thing, it's that if they're going to win the case, they're going to do it by attacking the evidence. When Kraft was charged on Feb. 22, authorities justified the surveillance footage by pointing out that it was a part of a human sex trafficking case, but Burck doesn't agree with that.
"Sheriff Snyder and Jupiter police chief Daniel Kerr from the outset have said this is a human trafficking case, but have produced no evidence [to corroborate that]," Burck said. "They have falsely connected Robert Kraft and other men to human trafficking."
Under Burck's assertion, if there was no human trafficking, then there was no reason to make the video, which is part of his argument for why Kraft's fourth amendment rights were violated.
Of course, if Kraft's legal team can't get the evidence suppressed or thrown out, Snyder doesn't see any reason why the video won't eventually be released.
"Once a case is over, it's not an ongoing investigation," Snyder said. "There has to be a specific reason not to release a public record. And the fact that there is sexual activity is not an exemption."
If Kraft ends up accepting any sort of plea deal, Snyder would also expect the video to be released in that situation.
"The question is if they plead guilty and the case goes away, will it be subject to public record?" Snyder said. "I think the answer is likely yes, but until then there is a court order that seals those files."
The Patriots owner, but he didn't take it. In the deal, Kraft and 24 other men charged with soliciting prostitution have had the charges dropped in exchange for them admitting they would've been found guilty, doing 100 hours of community service, completing a class on the dangers of prostitution, and paying $5,000 per count.
Although it's unclear if any of the other 23 men accepted the deal, Kraft shot down the deal and the two sides are now headed to their first court date on Thursday, just one day after the NFL's annual league meeting concludes in Arizona.