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Robert Kraft video evidence to be sealed until jury is seated or case is otherwise resolved

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/23/2019 A.J. Perez
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Footage of Robert Kraft’s visit to a Florida massage parlor will not be released to the public until after the New England Patriots owner’s trial is underway or the case is otherwise adjudicated, a judge ruled on Tuesday. 

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser granted the protective order sought by Kraft’s legal team and wrote in his 10-page decision that “making these images public, at this time, seriously jeopardizes Defendant’s fundamental right to a fair and impartial jury.”

“Furthermore, the Court is seriously concerned about allowing the media to disclose to the public a piece of evidence that would be (or could be) central to the case against defendant,” Hanser wrote. “In effect, the potential jury pool would be given the opportunity to preview trial evidence, including identifying (Kraft) as the person depicted in the video tapes.”

Hanser wrote that the video would not be released until a jury was sworn in, the case was resolved in a plea agreement, the case dropped by prosecutors or "any other time at which the Court finds the fair trial rights of (Kraft) are not at risk."

Attorneys for media organizations – including USA TODAY – have sought the release of the footage under Florida’s open-records law. 

Robert Kraft standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Patriots owner Robert Kraft © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Beyond keeping the video from public view, Kraft’s legal team has sought to suppress the video as evidence in the case. His attorneys have alleged in various filings that authorities violated Kraft's rights by obtaining the warrant that allowed the surreptitious filming of Kraft and others inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Kraft was among 24 men charged with soliciting prostitution over alleged visits to the spa. He allegedly visited the spa on consecutive days in January.

Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor solicitation charges and asked for a jury trial.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Robert Kraft video evidence to be sealed until jury is seated or case is otherwise resolved

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