Prosecutors make case to keep their case against Robert Kraft

Appellate court hears oral arguments in case against Patriots owner
Posted at 10:26 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 12:24:16-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida prosecutor said Tuesday that police were "entirely rational" to use hidden video cameras as they investigated prostitution at a Jupiter day spa last year, leading to the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The 2019 charges against Kraft was the subject of oral arguments Tuesday before Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal.

"You need to have the nexus -- the cash exchanging hands from the johns to the prostitutes and the prostitutes to the owners," Florida prosecutor Jeffrey DeSousa told a three-judge panel during a Zoom hearing. "That's how we prove deriving support."

Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said Kraft was among those caught on video soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

Orchids of Asia Spa
The Orchids of Asia Spa in Jupiter was raided in February 2019.

Kerr said the six-time Super Bowl champion made two visits to the Jupiter business in January 2019.

According to the police report, Kraft was at the spa the day before and the morning of New England's 37-31 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. The report said Kraft was driven to the spa on both occasions.

Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.

A lower court judge banned the use of surveillance video in the case against Kraft, but prosecutors contend the judge made a legal mistake and should let them use the video against the NFL owner.

When Judge Cory Ciklin asked about the state's argument that there was a concern human trafficking was taking place at the spa, Kraft's attorney, Derek Shaffer, said he gives it "no credence."

"It was innuendo and it was smoke," Shaffer said.

Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994 and owns a property in Palm Beach.

Under Kraft's ownership, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls, including a 13-3 victory against the Los Angeles Rams in last year's Super Bowl LIII, and 10 AFC titles.

Court adjourned without a decision.