New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his legal team scored a stunning victory Monday evening, as prosecutors filed a motion for a stay of proceedings, effectively admitting they can no longer proceed with the case.
Sources familiar with the development dismissed outright any likelihood the case against Kraft — two misdemeanor counts of solicitation of prostitution in connection with a video-sting operation police conducted at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida — can be somehow resuscitated.
Alex Spiro, one of Kraft's attorneys, told Newsmax: "[The prosecution] lost every motion and all of their evidence. They conceded they cannot move forward. They have waved the white flag."
Monday's developments followed a series of setbacks for the prosecution.
On May 13, the judge in the case, 15th Florida Circuit Court Judge Leonard Hanser, ruled a surveillance video of the alleged sex acts was inadmissible in court.
Hanser ruled the video could not be used against Kraft, because in executing the warrant that authorized the secret recordings of activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa and Massage in Jupiter, law enforcement failed to protect the rights of innocent individuals whose images might also be recorded.
Initially, Kraft was expected to appear in court Tuesday so Hanser could set a court date. Earlier Monday, it was reported the hearing had been postponed to give prosecutors a chance to appeal his ruling on the video. Then news emerged that prosecutors had filed the motion for a stay of proceedings.
That stay puts the case on hold indefinitely, but those familiar with the tactic indicate it is a de facto exoneration of Kraft.
David Weinstein, a Miami-based lawyer who previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney, told The Wall Street Journal the appeal by prosecutors is highly unlikely to succeed.
"It's a Hail Mary," he said.
Kraft's legal team apparently shares that view. According to the Journal, Spiro remarked: "The case is over."
It was a stunning reversal for prosecutors, who were simply unable to proceed with the case without actual evidence of what happened inside the establishment Kraft reportedly visited.
One reason prosecutors might have thrown in the towel: A second judge's ruling in a related case Monday, involving two individuals allegedly caught on tape providing sexual services.
Judge Joseph Marx concurred the video in that case also would not be admissible, because the rights of other customers had not been adequately protected.
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