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Judge grants Robert Kraft's motion to suppress video in prostitution charges

Posted at 5:59 PM, May 13, 2019

A judge has granted New England Patriot's owner Robert Kraft's motion to suppress surveillance video recorded in the charges of alleged prostitution against him, dealing a major blow to prosecutors in the case.

Kraft faces two counts of soliciting prostitution after allegedly visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter in January.

In the order issued Monday, a judge wrote that Kraft had a "reasonable, subjective expectation of privacy, as would anyone seeking a private massage in a commercial or professional setting" in support of suppressing the video.

The judge also suppressed all information obtained from the traffic stop involving Kraft in January.

The State Attorney's Office can appeal this order.

In addition, the Jupiter Police Department released hundreds of pages of evidence Monday into the investigation of alleged prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

Records released show that as a result of the investigation, law enforcement seized and deposited more than a half-million dollars into a Wells Fargo bank account. Officials seized all of those funds after executing search warrants in Jupiter as well as Martin County and Orange County.

The filings show that "covert surveillance video" and "body worn camera" videos are the main pieces of evidence gathered against the alleged "johns" in the case, including Kraft.

Law enforcement collected an array of evidence against Hua Zhang and Lei Wang, two of the alleged "madams" in the case. The list of evidence spans several pages for both, and includes "$140,000 in US currency," "documents obtained from trash pull," "paper napkins with seminal fluid" and receipts to the business.

Both Zhang and Wang are facing multiple felonies as a result of the investigation.

Records released Monday also show Hua Zhang bought the spa in 2009. According to Zhang's son, she purchased the day spa after working there as an employee.

Several officers were involved "tactical ruse" used to install the covert surveillance cameras used in the "sneak and peek" warrant on Jan. 17, 2019. Jupiter Police borrowed the hidden cameras from the Martin County Sheriff's Office, and a deputy also helped with their installation.

The night that investigators installed the cameras at the day spa, no one came out of the spa until after Hua Zhang and Lei Wang drove into the parking lot. Wang told officers that she was watching the spa through her security cameras being transmitted on her cellphone and that there were two women inside. She claimed that she was coming from a party to pick them up, despite that "she was dressed in a grey robe."

Also, Wang's vehicle, a white Mercedes, "was under surveillance and had come from her residence in Hobe Sound." Law enforcement was on-scene at the spa the night the hidden cameras were installed from 11:00 PM until 1:30 AM.

The hidden cameras were removed five days later, on January 22. It's unclear how police removed the cameras after having to create a "tactical ruse" to install them in the first place.

Officials said that the Jupiter Police Dept. is planning to release several hundred photos from the investigation. Those pictures are still under review, but they are hoping to release them later this week.