A judge will not decide until next week whether videos allegedly showing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for and receiving sexual acts at a Jupiter day spa will be made public.
Kraft, a 77-year-old part-time Palm Beach, Fla., resident, is one of 25 men charged with soliciting prostitution at Orchids of Day Spa following during a four-county sting in January that resulted in scores of arrests.
Kraft’s attorneys told Circuit Judge Leonard Hanser on Friday that releasing the videos would be “catastrophic” for Kraft’s chances at a fair trial and that media organizations demanding the videos are just in it for “eyeballs and clicks.”
“It’s basically pornography,” William Burck, one of Kraft’s attorneys said, adding that the public’s interest in seeing the video “is all about prurient interest.”
Attorneys for numerous media organizations, including the Palm Beach Post, told Hanser the videos are public record and should be made available for release and that doing so would not infringe on the billionaire businessman constitutional right to a fair trial. They referenced other high-profile defendants such as George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony who were acquitted despite an avalanche of pre-trial publicity.
Hanser asked both sides to turn in documents stating their positions by next Tuesday. He will then issue a written decision.
Authorities initially said that the sting was part of a crackdown on human trafficking also involving Martin, St. Lucie and Orange counties.
But more than seven months into the investigation no one has been charged with human trafficking and an official with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said during Friday’s hearing that no one connected to the Orchids of Asia sting would face such charges.
Kraft, who faces two counts of soliciting prostitution, has pleaded not guilty. Police say he visited the Jupiter spa and paid for sex on Jan. 19 and 20.