Hidden-camera footage of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a Florida massage parlor can not be used as evidence in his trial on charges of soliciting prostitution, a judge ruled on Monday in a victory for the billionaire.
Police say Kraft was caught on videotape receiving sex acts in exchange for money at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., on January 19 and January 20.
Kraft has been embroiled in a bitter and embrassing legal battle for weeks since he was charged with prostitution solicitation in February. Hanser also ruled detectives can not testify about what they saw on the video or when they stopped Kraft.
The Palm Beach County judge focused his ruling on what he deemed a lack of "minimization" procedures to limit the invasion of privacy of the massage parlor's clients. ESPN's T.J. Quinn believes the judge's ruling torpedoes the case against Kraft.
The warrant for the hidden cameras, Kraft's lawyers claimed, was secured under false pretenses because police cited human trafficking as a potential crime in their application.
Prosecutors argued that the warrant was aimed at stopping a felony-level prostitution operation and legally obtained.
Hanser had already ruled that the Kraft videos can not be released publicly until his trial is underway or the case is settled or dismissed.
Hours later, Kraft was in Kansas City for the AFC Championship game, where his Patriots defeated the Chiefs.
The news for Kraft comes months after the Patriots won their record-matching sixth super bowl title in a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Hanser has ordered Kraft to appear in court for a May 21 pretrial hearing.