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Kraft and Florida prosecutors agree: An appeals court must examine spa case

The Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.
The Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

In a rare case of agreement, attorneys for Robert Kraft and Florida prosecutors on Tuesday asked a Florida appeals court to conduct an independent review of the legality of Kraft being secretly recorded while allegedly paying for sex in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January.

Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Kraft’s defense team, Alex Spiro and William Burck, want the court to decide whether the videos of Kraft should be excluded from any trial and not released to the public, as Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser ruled earlier this year.

Aronberg’s office said prosecutors believe the investigation by Jupiter police that ensnared Kraft properly deployed advanced technology, while Kraft’s lawyers argue that Kraft’s privacy rights were violated.

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They agreed in asking the appellate court to review the use of secret cameras by law enforcement under Florida law.

Kraft, 77, has denied engaging in illegal activity, apologized, pleaded not guilty, and waged an intense legal battle against the charges.

Aronberg’s office argued that Hanser got it wrong and said videos of Kraft and about two dozen others who allegedly paid for sex at the spa should be part of the evidence against them and should be released to the public under the state’s expansive public records law.

“Though Mr. Kraft is being prosecuted for a misdemeanor solicitation offense, the validity of the investigative tools employed here will affect investigations into a broad range of other offenses, including but not limited to the offense of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution,’’ prosecutors wrote.

Kraft’s lawyers wrote that his constitutional rights were violated by the Jupiter Police Department when the cameras recorded him as he disrobed and then interacted with women at the spa on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20, the day of the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.

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“Just like every other person, [Kraft] had a legitimate expectation of privacy when receiving a private massage in a professional, licensed spa facility. In the normal course of a massage, a patron removes most or all of his or her clothing, behavior similar to that occurring inside a person’s home where Fourth Amendment protections are at their apex,” his lawyers wrote.

The court needs to “confirm for the public and for law enforcement that privacy interests will be given their due and that people will remain secure from prying eyes while disrobing behind closed doors,’’ the lawyers wrote.

The prosecution of Kraft on two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prosecution has ground to a halt after Hanser ruled police should have done more to minimize the recording of people who received a legal massage from the parlor, which was licensed by the state.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.