By Peter Brennan
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is back in legal deep water in south Florida.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, state lawyers have filed a request to the Florida Attorney General’s office to increase Kraft’s charge from two misdemeanors to a third-degree felony, which could earn him up to five years in prison.
Kraft previously pleaded not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges in March — stemming from two January 2019 incidents — and has requested a jury trial.
The request to enhance the charge is quite unusual but would also depend on the state winning an appeal of a lower court ruling that tossed out video evidence against Kraft.
There’s no current timetable for when this legal matter might finish; Kraft is one of 25 people who face charges for this investigation into Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. But even if he doesn’t face punishment from the legal system, he faces the possibility of punishment from the league later.
As the Sun-Sentinel points out, the elevated stakes ride on a 4th District Court of Appeal ruling on whether surveillance video of Kraft from police’s prostitution sting can be used.
State lawyers filed a 15-page argument on Friday that detailed why police needed such a broad warrant for misdemeanors. They said that prostitution schemes often lead to more serious crimes, although the state has been unable to prove claims of trafficking in part because spa workers did not cooperate with investigators.
Kraft’s attorneys, meanwhile, argue that the state violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Now that each side has submitted written arguments, a three-judge panel will make a ruling.