The Florida solicitor general and his staff have decided not to seek another appeal of the solicitation case against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Monday.
Last month, a state appeals court sided with a lower court decision to throw out video evidence in a solicitation of prostitution case against Kraft.
“We were disappointed by the Fourth District’s decision,” Kylie Mason, the attorney general’s press secretary, told CNN.
She said Solicitor General Amit Agarwal’s staff considered whether the state Supreme Court would hear the appeal, and if it did, what the consequences of a decision for Kraft would mean.
“These attorneys determined that review was unlikely and raised concerns that a decision by the Florida Supreme Court against the State on these case facts could have broader, negative implications beyond the limited facts of this case, which could affect law enforcement efforts in the future,” Mason said.
After consulting with the prosecuting state attorney’s office, the decision was made not to appeal the court’s ruling.
The ruling severely damaged the state’s case.
The influential NFL owner was one of dozens of patrons allegedly caught on secret cameras receiving illicit massages at a West Palm Beach spa in January 2019. A month later, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
His legal team challenged the validity of the search warrant that let authorities install hidden cameras inside the spa, saying it violated his Fourth Amendment rights and Florida law. A Palm Beach County judge agreed in May 2019 and ruled to suppress the video, effectively gutting the criminal case against him.
“The type of law enforcement surveillance utilized in these cases is extreme,” the appellate court ruling said. “While there will be situations which may warrant the use of the techniques at issue, the strict Fourth Amendment safeguards developed over the past few decades must be observed. If they are not, any evidence obtained could very well be declared inadmissible as a matter of constitutional law.”
Kraft has pleaded not guilty to the charges and offered an apology, saying he had “hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”
He has been the owner of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots since 1994.