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Fla. suggests Kraft could face felony in solicitation case, according to report

The state of Florida is appealing to turn Robert Kraft’s solicitation of prostitution charges into felonies.
The state of Florida is appealing to turn Robert Kraft’s solicitation of prostitution charges into felonies.Kathy Willens/AP/File/Associated Press

Prosecutors in Florida are attempting to elevate the prostitution-related charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft from misdemeanors to felonies, according to a published report.

The filing comes as the state is appealing a lower court ruling that tossed out video footage and other evidence used to charge Kraft with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution earlier this year. Kraft was charged as part of a large sting operation Florida authorities brought against a number of day spas that they alleged were fronts for sex businesses. The judge ruled police did not have a lawful ‘sneak-and-peek’ warrant for the spa’s surveillance cameras.

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The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Friday that the state attorney general said Kraft could face a third-degree felony charge, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, if the state wins its appeal of the lower court order.

The state asserts that “Mr Kraft’s guilt is a virtual certainty” based on the video footage.

The appeal has been taken to the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, according to the Sun-Sentinel, and a three-judge panel will make a ruling.

“That the State here is seeking to criminally prosecute one of its citizens — using evidence obtained during a dragnet video surveillance scheme that breaks from Fourth Amendment constraints agreed on by other courts — hardly entitles it to special dispensation or sympathy,” Kraft lawyers Frank Shepherd and William Burck wrote to the Sun-Sentinel.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General, Kylie Mason, said the office could not comment on ongoing litigation.

Kraft was charged in February after he made two visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida on Jan. 19 and 20, where the acts occurred. Kraft was charged as part of undercover investigations of 10 spas across Florida. Nearly 300 men were charged after the investigations.

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Brandon Chase can be reached at brandon.chase@globe.com.