Florida prosecutors on Thursday dropped prostitution solicitation charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, after being barred from using police surveillance videos that might prove their case.
The move was expected after the Florida attorney general’s office said Monday that it would not ask the state Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court decision blocking as evidence videos showing Kraft getting sexually serviced for money during two visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., in early 2019.
The videos, which have never been made public, were the most powerful, and possibly the only real pieces of evidence, against the 79-year-old billionaire, who had pleaded not guilty in the case.
“Without these videos we cannot move forward with our prosecution,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg during a press conference.
Aronberg said that he was “disappointed” by the appeals court ruling.
But the top prosecutor also called the Orchids of Asia Day Spa “a notorious brothel,” and he defended the decision by local police to open an investigation that led to the prosecution of Kraft and two dozen other men. Those other men also had their charges dropped because of the appellate court ruling.
“It is not a lack of will that caused us to drop the charges in the spa cases,” Aronberg said.
“But our hands were tied” by the attorney general’s decision not to appeal the ruling, he added. Aronberg, however, said he understood that decision.
Aronberg’s office on Thursday filed in court two notices of nolle prosequi, a term that means they will not proceed with prosecution in the case, in which the NFL owner Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor.