Is it ever worth it to take a plea? Not if you are Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The prosecution offered Kraft a sweetheart deal on two misdemeanor solicitation charges. If Kraft agreed to state that “he would have been proven guilty had the case gone to trial” then the prosecution would drop all the charges. But Kraft and his attorney, smelling blood in the water, wants to force the prosecution to actually prove their case in court or dismiss the charges outright. Why?
Everyone knows that Kraft did exactly what he is being accused of, but the problem is not that he did it, it is how the prosecution came by the evidence that he did it. Essentially, police officers have Robert Kraft on video receiving sexual favors from working girls at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. So, why is he not dead to rights, and why is the prosecution extending him such a great deal?
In order to understand that, we have to delve a little deeper into how they came by that information.
The Sneak and Peek Warrant
To make a long story short, police conducted what is known colloquially as a ‘sneak and peek’ warrant. The sneak and peek warrant was authorized under the Patriot Act to facilitate urgent investigations involving potential terrorist attacks. It allows investigators to break into a business or home, establish surveillance, and then get a real warrant. On the one hand, this is great for anti-terrorism measures. On the other hand, should it be used to bust up prostitution rings? Prostitution is a state-level crime, while acts of potential terrorism are prosecuted at the federal level.
Officially, the investigation was conducted into “sex trafficking” at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. However, no charges of sex trafficking have been brought. While greater charges than those Kraft faces have targeted the company’s owners and managers, they are still a far cry from the “sex trafficking” that was being alleged in the first place. Nonetheless, the words “sex trafficking” have been dumped in the press often enough that most people probably believe there was an element of sex trafficking involved. This has not been proven. Had sex trafficking been involved, someone would have been charged by now.
Since the warrants only yielded evidence of a handful of state crimes, it is likely that Kraft and his attorney are banking on the fact that the prosecution is going to lose access to that evidence come time for trial. If that happens, their entire case goes up in smoke.
Sloppy Police Work and Shortcuts
While the debate around whether or not prostitution should be legal rages on, it is still illegal in the state of Florida and police had an actual case against the “day spa’s” owners and the various johns they caught on film. Many are wondering whether or not sex trafficking itself can be used to justify a ‘sneak and peek’ warrant and further, if the warrant is admissible because it did not result in any federal charges against the defendants.
In other words, sloppy police work, illegal surveillance, and a myriad of other blunders may result in all charges against the defendants being dismissed.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
David Freidberg, Attorney at Law represents those charged with crimes in the greater Chicago area. If you have been targeted in an illegal raid or otherwise charged with a crime, give us a call at (312) 560-7100 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
(image courtesy of Joanna Kosinka)