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Judge blocks spa videos of Robert Kraft, others until a hearing is held

Posted: 1:32 PM, Apr 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-17 19:44:57Z
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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — UPDATE: A judge has blocked the release of spa videos until a hearing is held. A hearing on the motion for a protective order has been scheduled for 1:30 PM on April 29.

EARLIER:

Secretly obtained surveillance videos of men inside a Jupiter massage parlor will be made public, according to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

According to a recent court filing, the graphic video will be blurred or pixelated before it's released.

The filing reads:

"Although Chapter 119 (Florida’s Public Records Law) does not include a specific exemption for obscene or pornographic material, it is the practice of the Office of the State Attorney to pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public."

READ THE FILING HERE:

The surveillance video has become a source of contention for the most high-profile person charged in the case, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft was charged with two misdemeanor counts of solicitation after visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter two times in January, according to police.

Kraft pleaded not guilty and asked his attorneys tothe surveillance video sealed from the public.

On Friday, Kraft’s defense counsel and attorneys representing numerous media outlets made arguments before a judge as to whether the video should be released.

Kraft’s attorneys believe the video was obtained through an illegal 'sneak-and-peek' search warrant. They also say, among other things, releasing it could hurt Kraft’s right to a fair trial.

Media attorneys say that whether you want to see the video, it should be released to the public because that is what Florida’s public records law requires.

RELATED: 'Sneak-and-peek' warrants unsealed

A judge has not decided whether to seal the video, but prosecutors say they are only allowed to withhold public records if a statutory exemption exists.

The filing reads:

"Absent a Court order, the State will be releasing the requested public records once it has retrieved and reviewed the records, and deleted any portions of the records which are statutorily exempt under Chapter 119."

The multi-agency prostitution sting has also affected courtrooms up and down the Treasure Coast. Similar motions to seal sneak-and-peek videos were filed in Martin and Indian River Counties, but judges there said they would not prevent the release of those videos to the public.

Despite permission to release the videos, law enforcement officials have held off, citing an active investigation.

It is not yet clear when the State Attorney’s Office plans to release police videos of Kraft and 24 other men charged alongside him.

RELATED: Inside an illicit massage parlor

Follow Contact 5’s Merris Badcock on Twitter for updates in this case.