Goodell: No NFL discipline of Kraft until court case resolved

Goodell: No NFL discipline of Kraft until court case resolved

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at the league's spring meetings on Wednesday that the NFL will take no disciplinary action against Robert Kraft until the Patriots owner's solicitation of prostitution case is resolved.

Also Wednesday, Judge Leonard Hanser indefinitely postponed Kraft's trial until the appeal by prosecutors of Hanser's decision to suppress the use of video evidence obtained at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Police say those videos show Kraft paying for sex when he the spa twice in a 24-hour period in January.

Kraft issued a public apology after the arrest and has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of solicitation.

The appeal over the videos won't be heard until at least Sept. 4. The Patriots open their season Sept. 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium, meaning Kraft will likely still be waiting for the resolution of his court case and any discipline from the NFL when the team's sixth Super Bowl championship banner is raised in a ceremony before that "Sunday Night Football" opener.

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Florida prosecutors to appeal suppression of Kraft video

Florida prosecutors to appeal suppression of Kraft video

Florida prosecutors haven't given up their fight to allow video evidence to be used in Patriots Robert Kraft's solicitation of prostitution case. 

As expected, The Palm Beach County State Attorney filed an appeal Friday of a judge's ruling earlier this week suppressing the video evidence because police did not properly monitor the video at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

The appeal was first reported by T.J. Quinn of ESPN.

If the appeal is denied, it would effectively end the state's case against Kraft, who is accused of visiting the spa to receive sex for money twice in a two-day period in January.

Prosecutors opened themselves up for civil suits from Kraft and 24 other defendants in the solicitation sting if they failed to appeal. 
 
In his ruling, Judge Leonard Hanser agreed with Kraft's attorneys who argued that police failed to properly minimize the video surveillance of the spa - i.e., that they didn't avoid recording legal activity inside Orchids of Asia, and that clients, including Kraft, have a right to privacy inside the spa.

Kraft attorney Burck told Quinn: "[Palm Beach County State Attorney David] Aronberg is acknowledging he has no case without the illegal video recordings that four Florida judges have now found to be unconstitutional. No evidence means no trial. So the State had only two options -- drop the case or appeal. They chose to appeal, but we are confident the appellate court will agree with Judge Hanser and the other judges who threw out their illegally obtained evidence."

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Report: Prosecutors are seeking eyewitness testimony against Robert Kraft

Report: Prosecutors are seeking eyewitness testimony against Robert Kraft

Patriots owner Robert Kraft's legal saga continues, as prosecutors reportedly seek eyewitness testimony against Kraft, among other developments.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Florida prosecutors are looking to bolster their case, by "including potential eyewitness testimony in the event other evidence is suppressed."

The move makes sense. By now it's been well documented that Kraft and his attorneys do not want the "tape" of Kraft inside the massage parlor to be released, or used at trial for that matter. It was previously pointed out by Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, that legal problems related to the issue of the video may "infect" the investigation, and that "the case against Kraft would collapse in the absence of admissible evidence."

According to McCann, Kraft's attorneys have challenged the constitutionality of some of the evidence against Kraft, and described the tape in discussion as "illegally obtained."

Robinson points out in his column, that "[spa] owner Hua Zhang and manager Lei Wang were arrested following the sting operation, [while] one unexplained question in the sweep is the status of Orchids Spa employee Shen Mingbi. According to charging documents, both Wang and Mingbi were identified by police as having engaged in sexual acts with Kraft on video surveillance obtained by authorities. However, while Wang has been arrested and charged, Mingbi has gone without charges. To date, prosecutors and police have declined to say why."

If prosecutors are able to get witnesses involved in the spa to testify against Kraft, and substantiate the charges against him, Kraft's case obviously becomes more difficult to fight.

 

Meanwhile, if there was any remaining doubt that Kraft does not want the tape of his activities at the spa to become public, according to Daniel Wallach, a sports legal analyst, Kraft's attorneys have just filed "a 28-page memorandum of law in support of his earlier-filed motion to suppress the videotaped recording."

None of this takes into account any possible NFL discipline of Kraft, which, like the outcome of Kraft's legal matter in Florida, remains to be seen.

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