Lawyers representing men charged with soliciting prostitution after a sex trafficking sting in Florida are seeking to block authorities from releasing photos, videos, and audio recordings from the investigation.
The lawyers represent about a dozen unnamed people charged with prostitution solicitation, as well as several spa patrons who have not been arrested, according to a motion.
The latter group fear any release of evidence will subject them to “guilt by association,” the lawyers wrote. One of the lawyers, Jordan R. Wagner, on Monday declined to publicly disclose his clients in the matter, who are unidentified in the complaint. He said his clients do not include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who faces two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
Wagner, said a ruling on whether evidence from the investigation can be released could affect the case against Kraft, which authorities say includes video footage.
“It would have an impact on all the cases in those counties,” Wagner said.
In his court filings, Wagner argued that “these surreptitious video recordings were unlawfully made and the act of recording the disrobing of spa patrons, revealing their partial or total nudity, along with capturing any intimate contact between the masseuse and the patron by law enforcement, is a shocking affront to the personal privacy” of his clients.
The motion also described the video recordings as “an insult to the decency of our society” and an “unprecedented abuse of police powers.”
Wagner and another lawyer also argue that Florida law prohibits the public release of any video or image of a human trafficking victim.
The recent crackdown resulted in charges against hundreds of men and the closure of ten spas in Florida.