Robert Kraft really has seen the tape of him recorded by the authorities of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa where, according to Jupiter police, twice received sexual acts in return for money. Last week, his legal team tried arguing that the state's public record law prevented the video from being released. A motion filed by multiple media outlets separately that argument in exact detail — the Florida Sunshine Law is very strong and recordable is public unless there is a specific exemption for it — so today Kraft's lawyers took a different approach. Now they are arguing that the recording by police should never be allowed, so it should be suppressed from the criminal case, and for those reasons the block should be released from the public.
The motion to suppress isn t shocking; it's a defense lawyer's job to try to get as much evidence as possible, and illegally obtained evidence should be out. In Kraft's case, law enforcement in Jupiter said they obtained a search warrant to place the cameras inside the massage parlor. But Kraft's lawyers argue that their videos are the "fruits of an unlawful sneak-and-peek search warrant." They outline in the motion multiple reasons they believe the videos were "obtained in flagrant violation of the laws of Florida and the United States. ”
Those reasons can be read in full in the motion, which is below.
This is followed by a request for a protective order, again asking for the videos to be released. This second try to protect the focus on the defense argument that the videos were illegally obtained, and therefore they should not be allowed to enter the public record.
can read the full article by the Florida Supreme Court here and a good summary done by Craig Pittman a few years ago for Slate here. The Supreme Court allowed the circuit to use its discretion to decide if other records, including videos were public.]
And this claim that the journalists have "no legitimate right" to the video? While I understand that Kraft is probably not known by the idea that video shows him, according to police, getting a hand job is public record, I feel compelled to point out that the sunshine law – in fact most public record laws – aren't based around concepts of what journalists should and should not say or publish. They are a place to protect the rights of all citizens to see what the government they pay for is doing. Do journalists use these laws on a daily basis more than other people? Probably. But the same right the New York Times has been the same right that Deadspin has to the video, and is the same right and totally random human being has to the video— as well as to almost any public record in Florida.
Yes, it's journalists who have asked to intervene, but that happens because that's the job. That's journalism 101 — especially in Florida — fight for public records, all of which have the money, time and resources to cost those battles in court. Because of the rights of the free press to operate as watchdogs on behalf of the public is their jobs – and I understand that this country's legal process works – Kraft's lawyers left out of their motion.
These requests, along with all the others you read about, have to go before Palm Beach County Judge Frank S. Castor. The next hearing is scheduled for April 9.