Robert Kraft's defense lawyers scored a big win when they were able to get potentially damning surveillance video excluded from the tycoon's trial. However, while the development is a huge win in Kraft's legal case, his earlier statements may still lead to disciplinary action from the National Football League (NFL).
The situation reminds us all of the value of not saying anything during a police investigation.
Judge Excludes Surveillance Video in Kraft's Solicitation Case
Back in January, Robert Kraft, the owner of Kraft Foods and the New England Patriots football team, was arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute in Florida.
Police had been monitoring a string of massage parlors there for signs of human trafficking. Part of the investigation involved executing a “sneak-and-peek” warrant which allowed police to install surveillance cameras inside the parlors without the proprietors knowing about it. Those cameras captured footage of everyone who visited the parlor – both those who paid for sexual favors and legitimate customers who only got a legal massage.
Mr. Kraft's attorneys filed a motion to exclude the surveillance footage from his case, claiming that it violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
On May 13, the judge agreed with Mr. Kraft's lawyers and excluded the video from the case. The prosecutors are likely to appeal the decision, as the lack of the video can doom their case against Mr. Kraft.
NFL Can Still Take Action
The NFL, however, is not a court of law. They can still discipline Mr. Kraft for violating the league's code of conduct, which requires players, coaches, and owners to refrain from “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.
And while the judge on Mr. Kraft's case has just eliminated a huge part of the prosecutor's case, Mr. Kraft is already largely confessed to soliciting sexual favors at the massage parlor. Those statements can come back to haunt Mr. Kraft even if he wins his court battle – the collateral consequences of his statements could still lead to disciplinary action by the NFL.
The Value of Not Talking
Mr. Kraft's dilemma with the NFL just highlights the importance of not talking during an investigation. If you are suspected of a crime, trying to explain yourself or control the damage is hardly ever a good idea. By staying silent, you let the public form its own opinions of the situation – which they will do, anyway – but also force law enforcement to do their job and gather evidence against you on their own, without your help.
Joseph D. Lento: Criminal Defense in Philadelphia
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer serving the Philadelphia area. If you have been accused of a crime in the city or its suburbs, you need legal help to invoke your rights, challenge the prosecutor's evidence against you, and represent your interests in the courtroom and outside of it.
Attorney Lento can help. Contact him online or call his Philadelphia law office at (215) 535-5353 for the legal representation you need at this difficult time in your life.