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Stay order puts trial of Patriots owner Kraft on hold

The trial of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on a misdemeanor prostitution charge is on hold after prosecutors appealed a judge's decision to exclude video evidence (AFP Photo/Kevin C. Cox)

Miami (AFP) - A Florida judge granted prosecutors' request to postpone the trial of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on a misdemeanor prostitution charge as they appeal a decision to exclude secretly shot video from evidence.

The trial could now be delayed until after the start of the NFL season on September 5.

The Patriots open their defense of their Super Bowl title on September 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Earlier this month, Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that the video surveillance footage, could not be used as evidence in the case.

On Tuesday, Hanser agreed to allow the matter to run through the appeals process before the case goes to trial, with prosecutors arguing that going ahead without the benefit of the suppressed evidence "is contrary to the interests of justice."

The footage allegedly shows Kraft twice engaging in sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January.

Billionaire team owner Kraft, 77, is one of 25 men charged with soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor, at the spa in Jupiter, Florida, where police installed surveillance cameras as part of an investigation into alleged incidents of human trafficking and prostitution at massage parlors.

Ultimately no human trafficking charges resulted from the investigation, and the misdemeanor charges faced by Kraft are punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine or community service.

Kraft has pleaded not guilty to the charges, although he has also issued an apology in which he said he knew he had "hurt and disappointed" his family, close friends, co-workers and Patriots fans.

Kraft could be subject to NFL disciplinary action under the league's personal conduct policy, even if he is found not guilty.