Robert Kraft’s case would be far more alarming, if he weren’t a billionaire

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It recently has become unfashionable to be extremely wealthy, due apparently to a stew of political attitudes and ideas that see fairly-and-squarely-accumulated wealth as a target for quick-and-easy redistribution. But billionaires still have rights, even if our new resent-the-rich vibe also includes making faces at legal arguments made by lawyers the rich can afford.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft currently faces a legal problem that, but for his social and financial status, would be regarded by most reasonable people as deeply troubling. Regardless of whether he did or didn’t solicit prostitution prior to receiving massages on back-to-back days in January, the government saw fit to hide cameras in extremely private areas for the purposes of catching him in the act of something that may not have been solicited in advance.

Karol Marowicz of the New York Post takes a closer look at the dynamics that resulted in the “sneak-and-peek” surveillance operation, following by a plead-guilty-or-we’ll-release-the-video strategy that in any other context would amount to extortion. But for trumped-up at best and falsified at worst concerns regarding human trafficking, it would have been difficult if not impossible to secure a search warrant. Although prosecutors have since admitted that don’t actually have evidence of human trafficking in Kraft’s case, the video still exists and the charges still stand.

As explained over the weekend by Marc Freeman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, authorities in Florida have used this tactic in the past. But they’ve rarely if ever taken on someone with the resources and the incentive to fight the charges tooth and nail. Kraft, who needs an exoneration in order to have any shot at not being suspended by the NFL (even with exoneration, a suspension may be inevitable), has launched the kind of defense that rarely happens when charges are filed and a guilty plea is quickly and quietly harvested.

Freeman points out that, on two prior occasions (in 2007 and 2014), law-enforcement officials installed cameras in Boca Raton massage parlors. Only one defendant filed a challenge to the “sneak-and-peek” warrant, and prosecutors dropped the charges against that person before there ever was even a hearing on the issue.

In this case, prosecutors can’t cut and run, due to the intense public scrutiny that surely would follow. Instead, they need to keep pushing for some sort of deal, with the leverage being the ever-present threat of public humiliation from the release of a video that, given the lack of evidence of human trafficking, arguably never should have been created.

Even with the video, the prosecutions case lacks any proof of actual solicitation. The absence of such evidence continues to be the biggest factual flaw in Kraft’s case, especially if the alleged prostitute refuses to testify that money was promised for sex.

Regardless, the fact that Kraft is rich, famous, and powerful shouldn’t cloud the fact that Florida has a habit of invading privacy and harvesting guilty pleas before ever being held accountable. Although Kraft surely isn’t doing this to end the practice of “sneak-and-peek” surveillance in Florida, the fight to defend himself has an incidental benefit to anyone whose privacy rights may be violated in the future — especially for those who were simply getting a massage but who ended up having the entire incident viewed and scrutinized by police.

20 responses to “Robert Kraft’s case would be far more alarming, if he weren’t a billionaire

  1. Actually, if Kraft weren’t a billionaire, this case would have been a small blip on the back page of the Sentinel and noticed by no one. And cared about by no none. Those other individuals, without the resources of Kraft, might still be getting railroaded with the “human trafficking” nonsense. We should be thankful for Kraft.

  2. It’s illegal to solicit so of course the charges should stand, evidence of trafficking be damned.

    Now whether they obtained legally or not, that’s a whole separate issue

  3. Robert Kraft should be treated the same as anyone else. ( equal protection under the law ) If charges have been dropped in the past because of illegal taping,invasion of privacy, they should be dropped. His wealth and fame should not work for or against him.

  4. very well stated mr. florio. every word makes perfect sense. they (jupiter pd) tried catching a big fish and instead they had a sturgeon land on their boat and theyre ducking for cover.

  5. There is no “resent the rich” vibe. It is a resentment to how so many accumulate their wealth on the backs of others, only to then turn around and lobby legislation to prevent others from receiving anything. If you think it is just a fad, then history is lost on you. It never ends well when you don’t take care of the masses. EVERY great kingdom has fallen. and in he midst, no one thought they would. As for Kraft, if he wasn’t rich, he would be in jail and the video would be out. this is clear and obvious

  6. Know what is even more frightening – instead of this guy paying for an at home visit, he went to a massage parlor – dirty. You get what you pay for & this guy is notoriously cheap.

  7. So your saying is, if everyone had the resources of a billionaire there would be far fewer people rotting away in prison. Welcome to America.

  8. The prosecutor will in the effort to find justice he/she is dropping all charges. He made his name in his bid for re-election and is now ready to move on.

  9. Florida also is always one of the top states in civil forfeiture as well. People need to stop worshiping the government and start questioning it more.

  10. Guessing you posted before actually reading the article?

    “Even with the video, the prosecutions case lacks any proof of actual solicitation.”

    ==============================

    onebuffalove716 says:
    April 22, 2019 at 2:26 pm
    It’s illegal to solicit so of course the charges should stand, evidence of trafficking be damned.

  11. Even if this surveillance did originate with a clear and honest purpose, the minute Kraft walked in there and was video’d it became political and , in my opinion, a little retribution for decades of the PAtriots beating the Dolphins came into play. Why else would they “go public” with their undercover operation BEFORE they were able to collect the evidence they were looking for. Some Local yokel DA wanted to make a splash and embarrass the owner of the Patriots. Congratulation… mission accomplished, Kraft is humiliated… I only hope this was not done at the expense of some poor women that are truly being victimized….

  12. onebuffalove716 says:
    April 22, 2019 at 2:26 pm
    It’s illegal to solicit so of course the charges should stand, evidence of trafficking be damned.

    Now whether they obtained legally or not, that’s a whole separate issue. All said evidence was obtained under false pretense and as a result should be tossed out!

  13. Kraft is simply a scumbag.
    __________

    Except for the fact that he’s given a billion billion times more to charities just this year than you will ever give over the course of your entire life.

  14. You get what you pay for & this guy is notoriously cheap.
    _______________________

    You don’t have the slightest clue as to how embarrassingly wrong you are.

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