A Florida appeals court has postponed a key hearing on prostitution charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft, ordering that arguments be conducted June 30 in a Zoom video conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearing was originally scheduled for May 21 in a West Palm Beach courtroom.
Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor prostitution charges stemming from a police investigation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla. He was charged in February 2019, based largely on secret video recordings a judge had authorized under a sneak-and-peak warrant.
Last May, a Florida district court judge tossed out the video evidence, ruling that police had not satisfied guidelines for sneak-and-peak warrants aimed at avoiding the surveillance of innocent customers at the spa. Prosecutors asked Florida's Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal to reverse the lower court's decision.
Kraft's lawyers, in written arguments, have described the case to the appeals court as a matter of fundamental civil liberties. Prosecutors, citing the recordings as crucial evidence, have defended the investigative procedures.
The appeals court, in an order May 12, said Kraft’s lawyers and prosecutors each will have 15 minutes to present their arguments in the Zoom conference.
Bob Hohler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.