By Zachary Blackwell
Elm Staff Writer
The controversy that has surrounded New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft over allegedly soliciting prostitution has reached a climax.
Kraft, 77, was charged in February with two first-degree misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa parlor in Jupiter, Florida, as part of a large-scale investigation covering alleged prostitution and human trafficking over several more parlors.
Kraft was previously suspected of human trafficking himself, but prosecutor Greg Kridos has reportedly stated that “there is no human trafficking that arises out of this investigation,” despite previous statements made by police and prosecutors, according to Business Insider. Police struggled to produce enough evidence to accuse Kraft of human trafficking, but Kraft is still being investigated for soliciting prostitution.
Prosecutors also attempted to make a deal with Kraft that would see both misdemeanor charges against him dropped if he admitted that he would have been found guilty of soliciting prostitution, as reported by the New York Times. He would have also been required to do community service, take a class on prostitution, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and pay a fine. After a series of negotiations, however, Kraft was found to be unwilling to admit any guilt, even though Jupiter police said Kraft paid for sexual services at the spa he attended.
Kraft’s lawyer, William Burck, is defending his client by discouraging the emergence of any evidence that may otherwise prove that Kraft is guilty. He has argued that Kraft’s “constitutional right to privacy” is more important than any “prurient interest” that the public has for seeing potential videos of Kraft receiving sexual services at the parlor, according to CNBC. Burck even went as far to compare the videos of Kraft to pornography. Burck also claims that media groups mainly desire “eyeballs and clicks,” which he perceives as the main force pushing for the video’s release to a wider audience.
Burck has stressed that releasing the videos of Kraft into the public eye would be very harmful, and that obtaining them violated the Fourth Amendment, implying that the local police unreasonably searched the parlor and seized the videos in question.
However, Florida’s public records law allows the release of governmental records and evidence, including videos, and some media lawyers have argued that the law would be violated by carving out an exception for Kraft’s videos.
Maintaining the Fourth Amendment rights of the accused is important to ensure due process and a fair trial. However, what Kraft is being accused of does not affect him and his life alone. It also will affect the sex workers, the spa parlor, and the lives of many of the others accused of soliciting prostitution. Kraft should consider the cost of telling the truth now versus the pain that would likely result from dragging the case out, if he is indeed guilty of soliciting prostitution.
It may also be true that the news media wants to see the video to generate clicks and attention, as Kraft’s lawyer has been saying. The media inevitably benefits from this case, as it involves a high-profile, influential businessman allegedly being involved with some heinous crimes. In fact, it’s fair to say the coverage of this situation has already received plenty of attention. If Kraft would like the attention to die down somewhat, and if he is guilty, then he should let the police do their job and release the tapes. At this rate, the release of the videos seems inevitable.