A Florida judged ruled Monday that prosecutors cannot use surveillance video and other evidence in the prostitution solicitation case against NFL team owner Robert Kraft.
The ruling is a major win for Kraft, who sought to suppress the purported evidence from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.
The New England Patriots owner was one of dozens of spa patrons allegedly caught on camera receiving illicit massages at the spa in January.
He and other defendants pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from the footage and other surveillance methods.
Kraft’s lawyers challenged the validity of the search warrant that let authorities install hidden cameras inside the spa, and argued that the warrant violated Kraft’s Fourth Amendment rights and Florida law.
The surveillance was “unnecessary and inappropriate,” they claimed, because the offense Kraft was accused of was “not legally serious enough to justify such a maximally invasive investigatory technique.”
In his order, Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser suppressed all evidence against Kraft that was obtained through and in connection with the search warrant.
Hanser said the Jupiter Police Department and the judge who issued the search warrant did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who received legitimate massages.
“The fact that some totally innocent women and men had their entire lawful time spent in a massage room fully recorded and viewed intermittently by a detective-monitor is unacceptable,” Hanser wrote.
Law enforcement did not identify Kraft until he left the spa and an officer pulled over his car to verify who he was. Hanser suppressed all information obtained through the stop as “fruit of an unlawful search.”
CNN has reached to prosecutors and Jupiter police for comment. Kraft’s lawyers did not return requests for comment.