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Robert Kraft tries (again) to keep surveillance video away from the public eye

Mike Florio

Now that a judge has ruled that the surveillance video containing images of Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly engaged in sexual activity cannot be used at the trial of his case, Kraft is doing exactly what we thought he would do.

Kraft now seeks an order permanently blocking the prosecution from giving the video to the various media companies that have been fighting to get access to it. The motion, filed after Monday’s ruling that prevents the video from being used at trial, seeks modification of the current order that delays the release of the video until: (1) his trial begins; (2) a plea agreement is reached; and (3) prosecutors dismiss the charges.

Deadspin.com has the motion, and Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin explains that the pending order allows the prosecutors to quickly drop the case and ensure that the video will be released, a move that would be entirely possible given the amount of rancor that has unfolded between the two sides in this prosecution. Kraft hopes to prevent this by arguing that the illegal nature of the surveillance operation supersedes the broad requirements of Florida law regarding the public nature of videos, documents, etc. generated by law enforcement in the exercise of its official duties.

It’s a compelling argument. Why should the public have access to materials generated in violation of applicable legal standards? Why should potentially vindictive prosecutors have a vehicle for sticking it to a defendant who successful enforces his rights in court, with the ultimate fallback when the defendant chooses to fight becoming the ability to drop the case and inject embarrassing evidence into the public eye?

While Monday’s ruling will be subject to appeal by the prosecution, if the video ultimately cannot be used at trial, the only fair outcome for Kraft and all other persons who appear on the “sneak and peek” videos generated over a five-day period in January would be to permanently prevent any of them from ever being made public, including videos that show people who were simply getting massages, and nothing more.