Law groups back Kraft in battle over Orchids of Asia tapes in Florida court – Boston Herald

Two law organizations are backing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in his fight to keep videotapes of his alleged sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa under wraps, recently filing amicus briefs supporting his privacy rights in a Florida court.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, with its Florida chapter, submitted a brief Wednesday criticizing the Jupiter, Fla., Police Department’s move to tape the spa uninterrupted for five days in January and record innocent men and women.

The Due Process Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, slammed the JPD’s Orchids of Asia search warrant in a Tuesday brief, arguing police took advantage of the lack of privacy safeguards in video surveillance laws.

Kraft, who pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor prostitution solicitation charges in February, earned a court victory in May when a judge suppressed the Orchids of Asia tapes because of their “unacceptable” taping of private, non-criminal massages.

Prosecutors instantly appealed the ruling, and filed their first full argument against the suppression last month.

“The (Jupiter Police Department) here thought the Fourth Amendment gave it carte blanche authority to record and view citizens in an intimate setting, knowing that at least some of the patrons recorded were not engaging in criminal activity,” the NACDL said.

The NACDL brief also argues on behalf of the men and women not charged who can’t suppress the video unless they file a “costly” civil suit against the government.

Attorney Donnie Murrell for the Due Process Institute wrote Jupiter Police didn’t have a proper “minimization” plan to avoid viewing non-criminal activity.

“Moreover, the warrant application failed to explain why alternative investigative techniques would have failed in this particular investigation, instead relying on generalizations about ‘Asian/Latin (m)assage parlors,’ ” Murrell wrote.

Kraft and prosecutors submitted opposing briefs in the appeal in October, which has now lasted longer than Kraft’s original misdemeanor case.

Palm Beach County prosecutors have argued Kraft isn’t entitled to suppress the specific video evidence of his own prostitution offenses.

A separate civil suit requesting public records of the Orchids of Asia investigation by Kraft is also pending a judge’s order, after prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the “frivolous” lawsuit a month ago.

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