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Robert Kraft ordered to appear in Palm Beach County court at next hearing on solicitation case

Posted: 8:27 AM, May 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-01 19:33:41-04
WPTV ROBERT KRAFT.jpg

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach County judge is ordering New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to appear at the next court hearing in his high-profile prostitution case.

At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Judge Leonard Hanser set a "calendar call" for May 21 to determine if both sides are ready to go to trial. Judge Hanser said Kraft must appear at that hearing.

For a third-straight day, Kraft's legal team argued their case for why undercover surveillance video of Kraft at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter should be thrown out as evidence.

Judge Hanser said he will rule on that motion to suppress at a later date.

⬇️ LATEST FROM COURT ⬇️

Last month, Kraft's filed a motion to suppress, calling that video evidence "fruits of an unlawful 'sneak-and-peek' search warrant that the town of Jupiter Police Department used to spy on Mr. Kraft."

READ THE MOTION:

RELATED: How 'sneak-and-peek' cameras were installed | Inside an illicit massage parlor

Jupiter police said Kraft, who's pleaded not guilty, was recorded receiving an illegal sex act from 58-year-old Shen Mingbi at Orchids of Asia Day Spa on Jan. 19. Afterward, he paid her and another spa worker, 39-year-old Lei Wang, in cash, according to police.

Last week, Judge Hanser ruled the surveillance video cannot be released to the public, at least for now.

Kraft is facing charges of soliciting another to commit prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 penalty, and a mandatory 100 hours of community service.

In February, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder announced the results of an eight-month investigation, which he said uncovered prostitution operations at five day spas from Jupiter to Hobe Sound.

According to Sheriff Snyder, the spas involved were:

  • Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter
  • Cove Day Spa in Stuart
  • Therapy Spa in Stuart
  • Bridge Day Spa in Hobe Sound
  • Sequoia Apple Day Spa in Hobe Sound

Earlier this week, Florida Department of Health Inspector Karen Herzog testified she saw possible evidence of human trafficking at Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

On Wednesday, a judge in Martin County ruled surveillance video from two spas busts there cannot be admissible as evidence.