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Robert Kraft Got A Ban On Authorities Releasing Video Of Him Getting A Hand Job, For Now

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty)

A circuit judge in Palm Beach County has given New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft the temporary protective order he requested—preventing law enforcement from releasing copies of videos that, according to police, show the billionaire twice receiving sexual acts at a massage parlor. Circuit Judge Joseph Marx granted the order Wednesday at an emergency hearing, according to ABC. The hearing included prosecutors, Kraft’s defense lawyers, and members of the media, who have requested copies of the videos under Florida’s public records law.

Per ESPN, Marx gave the following explanation for issuing the temporary ban: “I may be on shaky grounds, media, but right is right. To have this happen without a judge passing judgment on it is just wrong. So I am ordering, I am barring its release until this court ... don’t want this released until I’ve ruled.”

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Kraft is charged with two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution, to which he’s pleaded not guilty. Marx isn’t the judge overseeing Kraft’s case (County Judge Leonard Hanser is), but Marx is presiding over the case of Lei Wang, who managed the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, and Hua Zhang, who owned the massage parlor. Wang and Zhang are charged with multiple counts of soliciting others to commit prostitution and both have pleaded not guilty. The videos taken, including those of Kraft, are considered evidence in their cases as well.

The emergency hearing happened, per the Palm Beach Post, after prosecutors in the Wang and Zhang cases filed a motion saying they believed that they were legally obligated to release the videos under Florida’s public records law. During the hearing, prosecutors said they filed the document “to clarify that their office could not, by law, as they mistakenly promised Hanser last week, refrain from releasing the video in Wang and Zhang’s cases until Hanser ruled,” the Post reported.

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Kraft is challenging the release of the videos, saying they violate his right to privacy and right to a fair trial. Wang and Zhang also have challenged the release of the videos, saying it would violate their right to privacy and right to a fair trial. One massage parlor patron, who was not charged with the crime but believes he was recorded by police during the investigation, has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking that the videos be barred from release.

Why is all this legal wrangling happening? Because Florida’s public records law is strong and deeply in favor of releasing records held by the government, in this case law enforcement. And there is no exemption that clearly bars the release of these videos.

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Diana Moskovitz

Senior editor at Deadspin

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