The Robert Kraft surveillance tape, which allegedly shows the 77-year-old owner of the New England Patriots receiving sexual services at a massage parlor, is a little bit like the infamous Goatse meme: you shouldn’t have any interest in seeing it, but you kind of want to anyway. Over the past month, Kraft’s lawyers and Florida state prosecutors have been engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth over the release of the footage — and today, at least, Kraft’s team won.
On Wednesday afternoon, Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx ruled to block the release of surveillance footage from the spa, which reportedly features Kraft and 24 other men who have been charged with solicitation of prostitution engaged in sexual acts with employees. “I don’t want this released until I’ve ruled,” Judge Marx said in an emergency hearing via conference call earlier today, halting the plans of prosecutors to release the footage.
The ruling was an about-face from prosecutors’ announcement earlier today that they planned to release the footage, though they didn’t specify when. In response, Kraft’s attorneys immediately filed a motion blocking the footage, referring to “an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct” and prosecutors’ overwhelming desire to release the tapes “even before a determination of their legality.” Kraft’s team argued that the warrant to put hidden cameras in the spa may have been improperly obtained.
The footage is the result of an anti-sex trafficking investigation into a string of massage parlors in Florida, including Orchids of Asia spa, where Kraft was busted. The footage allegedly depicts Kraft receiving sexual services from spa employees in Jupiter, Florida, on January 19th and 20th (the latter mere hours before his team won the AFC Championship). Kraft and 24 other men were charged with solicitation of prostitution back in February. (Prosecutors later said there was no evidence of trafficking.)
Prosecutors have argued that the footage should be released under Florida’s Sunshine Law, which allows the public to have access to governmental public records. In the past, law enforcement officials have said they would pixelate pornographic images in the tapes before they were released to the public, which apparently is for the best: according to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, who told CNBC last month that he had watched the “explicit[ly] sexual and graphic” footage, the videos are “pretty ugly.” Which, honestly, is more than a little bit rude to Robert Kraft, but worth keeping in mind if you’re one of the multitudes of Americans who have been eagerly awaiting the release of footage of a 77-year-old billionaire getting an HJ.