Florida judge blocks video in Kraft-related case

A Florida judge on Monday ruled that prosecutors cannot use surveillance video in a case related to the solicitation case of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Palm Beach County Judge Joseph Marx ruled to suppress the video evidence in the case against the owner and manager of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla.

Spa owner Hua Zhang and manager Lei Wang face several counts related to prostitution. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Kraft and his attorneys won a similar ruling in their case last week, though prosecutors have appealed that decision by Palm Beach Court Judge Leonard Hanser.

Also on Monday, prosecutors asked a judge to basically give them more time on the case pending against Kraft so the government has to time to pursue its appeal.

In a motion filed in Palm Beach County, prosecutors said they'll be forced to proceed without "crucial evidence" if they must put on a case against Kraft in a narrow window, based on his right to a quick trial, before the court rules on their appeal.

The crucial evidence referred to is the surveillance video that allegedly shows Kraft paying for sex at the day spa.

A hearing on that request had been scheduled at 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday before Judge Hanser. Kraft will not be required to appear at that hearing.

Monday's earlier ruling in the case of the two women means all of the video evidence in the cases in Palm Beach County currently cannot be used in court.

The video in question was gathered as evidence in the case against Kraft and 24 other men who are charged with paying for sex at the spa, in Jupiter, Fla.

Hanser earlier ruled the Kraft videos could not be released publicly until his trial was underway or the case was settled or dismissed.

Kraft's attorneys now are expected to file a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of evidence. That could happen as early as Tuesday.

Hanser had earlier ordered Kraft to appear in court Tuesday, but on Monday canceled Tuesday's "calendar call" hearing, which had been scheduled to set a trial date.

Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of solicitation, but he has not denied the accusation he received sexual acts for money at the spa. In his lawyers' arguments against the charges, Kraft essentially has admitted he was caught on video receiving such services. That could be significant when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell considers discipline. The NFL is not bound by court rulings, and a dismissal of criminal charges doesn't mean Kraft is off the hook with the league.