Lawyers for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday continued to strongly push back against Florida prosecutors who accused them of lying during a recent hearing in Kraft’s misdemeanor prostitution case.
In a written filing in Palm Beach County, Kraft’s high-powered defense attorneys wrote, “Unable to justify a lawless, indefensible prosecution on its merits, the State has resorted to trying to smear defense counsel.”
Also on Tuesday, Kraft attorney William Burck said in a statement to the Globe that prosecutors were “falsely accusing the defense lawyers of lying to the court. It’s pathetic.”
The defense filing accused prosecutors of “taking unfounded potshots at defense counsel in an effort to distract from its own longstanding, demonstrated pattern of misconduct and from the legal defects in its case.”
The case centers on two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution that Kraft faces for allegedly paying for sex acts inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., in January. Kraft, 77, has denied engaging in criminal activity, pleaded not guilty, and requested a jury trial.
Tuesday’s defense filing came in response to allegations earlier in the day from state Attorney Dave Aronberg’s office, which said in court papers that Kraft attorneys Alex Spiro and Burck offered false evidence during questioning of Jupiter Police Officer Scott Kimbark at a recent hearing on Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence in the case.
At the hearing, Spiro repeatedly challenged Kimbark with accusations that his body camera had recorded him, during a vehicle stop of another alleged john, telling another officer that the lack of probable cause for the stop did not matter because he would just “make some [expletive] up.”
The stop happened about an hour before police pulled over the Bentley that Kraft was riding in after leaving the spa on Jan. 19.
Cops got a warrant to secretly equip the spa with hidden cameras that allegedly captured Kraft and 24 other men paying for sex acts inside the establishment over multiple days. Kimbark’s job was to stop alleged johns’ vehicles after they left the spa, in order to collect their identifying information for detectives. Kimbark needed probable cause for the motor vehicle stops. Such stops are known as pretextual traffic stops.
Prosecutors said a review of the radio transmissions and the body-worn camera video found that Kimbark never made the inflammatory remark about making “[expletive] up.”
“Both Attorneys Spiro and Burck represented to the court that they had watched the body camera tape and heard this comment allegedly made during a previous stop,” prosecutors wrote. “Either the assertion that they had reviewed the tape was untrue, or their representation of what occurred during the tape was untrue.”
In their written response later Tuesday, Kraft’s lawyers countered that they had to rely on information they received from the other alleged john’s lawyer, since prosecutors refused to turn over Kimbark’s body camera footage.
“It is undisputed that Officer Kimbark referred specifically and expressly to his plan to ‘come up with something’ as his claimed basis for making the relevant vehicle stop” Kraft’s attorneys wrote. “It is also undisputed that the State hitherto withheld the actual bodycam footage from Mr. Kraft and his counsel, despite their repeated requests for it.”
The defense continued, “It should be readily apparent from the footage that defense counsel had good-faith basis to pose the relevant question to Officer Kimbark, which should be the end of any contempt charge. Lest there be any doubt, defense counsel will attest that the relevant question reflected, in the utmost good faith, reports from counsel for the relevant defendant who had been stopped what the bodycam footage reflected.”
The war of words comes as Judge Leonard Hanser is weighing Kraft’s high-stakes motion to suppress the video footage in the case. The motion, if successful, would bar prosecutors from showing the footage to a jury, severely hampering the government’s case against the billionaire team owner.
Kraft’s attorneys maintain the video footage should be tossed because they say officers lied about suspected human trafficking at the spa to get a warrant to install the hidden cameras, among other alleged acts of misconduct.
Neither Kraft nor any of the other defendants have been charged with human trafficking, and Assistant State Attorney Greg Kridos has conceded in court there’s “no human trafficking that arises out of this investigation.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Danny McDonald of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.