The attorneys for the manager at Orchids of Asia Day Spa revealed in an emergency court hearing this week that hidden camera footage of two employees performing oral and manual sex acts on Robert Kraft had been leaked to the press.
Lei Wang’s lawyers appeared before Judge Leonard Hanser on Wednesday after filing a motion asking that all videos that were recorded by the Jupiter Police Department during their sting operation be barred from release.
The defense team argued that if the videos leaked to the press it would compromise their client’s right to a fair trial in the case, where she is currently facing 30 counts including soliciting an individual to commit prostitution, maintaining a house of prostitution and deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
A temporary order to bar the release of the tapes was granted, but the lawyers found themselves in court again on Thursday after learning that The Blast had been approached by a third party offering to sell them footage of Kraft at the spa.
Wang’s lawyers argued that the leaked footage had to have come from someone inside the Jupiter Police Department or the State Attorney’s office, and asked the judge to hold the two agencies in contempt of court.
Police had previously noted however that there was also hidden cameras in place throughout the spa that were installed by owner Hua Zhang.
The defense team, police department and state attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
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Camera shy: Attorneys for Lei Wang (above in mugshot) appeared in court on Wednesday to order that all videos obtained by police from the Orchids of Asia sex sting be barred from release
Happy ending: The lawyers were back in court on Thursday despite the judge granting that motion when The Blast revealed footage of Robert Kraft (above on Sunday at a Boston Celtics game) was leaked to the site
‘Representatives of our news operation viewed the footage, and upon watching, can verify the tape appears to show Kraft in the massage parlor with another person, presumably the massage therapist,’ reported The Blast.
‘In the video, the 77-year-old is already undressed and laying on the massage table with his hands placed behind his head. The camera angle is an overhead shot, and it’s believed the camera was placed in the ceiling.’
It is then noted that while ‘only a portion of the videos collected by authorities’ were available to view, ‘it was enough to verify it’s legit.’
The footage was briefly posted online on another website as well, but was removed shortly after DailyMail.com viewed the brief snippet on Friday morning.
There has been a great deal of drama surrounding the release of the tapes in recent days after the lawyer prosecuting the case for the 15th judicial circuit announced that he intended to comply with requests to obtain the footage submitted by media outlets.
It was later revealed that the lawyer who made that statement did not have the authority to release the tapes to another party, or even make that decision on behalf the office.
That did not matter in the end however because hours after announcing the attorney announced his intent to release the video, a circuit court judge ruled that no video of Kraft or any other man accused in the sting would be released until a hearing was held in the case.
That hearing will now take place on April 29, giving Kraft two more weeks to try and find an argument that might get him out of his current predicament.
Should the judge side with the prosecution after that hearing, the State Attorney’s office will release the videos after they ‘pixelate or blur depictions of obscene or pornographic images before releasing such records to the public.’
The ruling came from Judge Hanser of the 15th Circuit Court after Kraft and his lawyers submitted a 32-page letter.
That 32-page letter made multiple arguments for why Kraft’s team did not believe the three tapes of their client should be released to the public.
At the same time, the letter called out prosecutors for allegedly lying in court.
The defense team wrote in that letter that prosecutors repeatedly told them and the judge that no video would be released until a judge ruled on the case.
As proof of this, the lawyers offered up emails, court transcripts and more in the legal filing as evidence to back his claim.
‘The state’s position is the two videos of [Kraft] committing two separate sexual acts and paying money for those acts and a third video that captures the traffic stop of [Kraft] inside the spa are not items that constitute active criminal intelligence information or active criminal investigative information and are not exempt from public disclosure,’ read a memorandum submitted by State’s Attorney David Aronberg.
He then noted: ‘Neither the State nor the Jupiter Police Department have any objection to any of the videos in the case being released.’
Aronberg went on to attack Kraft for the arguments he and his legal team made in a bid to halt the release of the tapes.
The state filed the memorandum on Monday in response to Kraft’s 2nd amended motion for a protective order, which he filed last week.
Facials: Officers with the Jupiter Police Department had revealed in a report that there were also hidden cameras set up throughout the spa (above) by owner Hua Zhang
Waterworks: Wang’s (above at her arraignment ion March) defense team asked that the Jupiter Police Department and State Attorney’s office be held in contempt, claiming one of the agencies leaked tape
Kraft, who has spent the past two weeks dismissing any allegations of sex trafficking, said in his filing: ‘Because the Jupiter Police Department deems the masseuses who are alleged to have performed acts to be victims of a sexual offense the videos are confidential.’
Aronberg dismissed that idea, and noted that all the spa employees who were arrested in the operation had been booked, photographed and named by authorities.
The prosecutor then revealed that two employees of the spa who were not arrested had been cooperating with authorities for months and interviewed by experts in the field of human trafficking.
It is noted that prosecutors would be willing to hold back the video, but only if the judge determined that they were ‘active criminal intelligence information’ or ‘active criminal investigative information.’
Lawyers for New England Patriots owner previously revealed that the Jupiter Police Department managed to install hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa by faking a bomb threat.
In a motion to suppress that was filed in Palm Beach County Court last week, Kraft’s defense team argued that this tactic went too far, and was not necessary given the consensual nature of the encounters.
‘On January 18, 2019, the [Jupiter Police Department] caused a phony “suspicious package” warning to be issued for the spa in order to force an evacuation, so the JPD could install hidden cameras inside several of its private massage room, as well as in the Spa’s lobby,’ stated the motion.
She’s watching: Hua Zhang (above) in her mugshot
‘This ruse concealed the execution of the warrant from the spa, it’s employees and it’s customers.’
It would be the following day that Kraft would first be filmed at the spa for the first time as he allegedly had a manual sex act performed in him by a staff member.
He then returned the following morning, at which time an oral sex act was performed on the billionaire, according to police.
A lawyer for Kraft previously went after the Martin Circuity Sheriff’s Office when it was revealed no human trafficking charges would be filed in the spa bust.
‘Sheriff Will Snyder admitted that there was no human trafficking,’ said attorney William Burck.
‘He lied about it. His officers lied about it. I don’t really know what to say. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.’
Authorities had initially obtained warrants to install hidden cameras after a health inspector noted evidence that suggested women were living at the spa during a visit to one of the establishments.
Sheriff Snyder then had to back off that claim, despite firmly stating that Kraft and the other men accused of soliciting were engaging in sex acts with trafficked women.
‘They are supposed to be upholding the law. They are supposed to be officers of justice, but instead he’s concocting false allegations against people in order to further headlines rather than justice,’ said Burck.
‘Sheriff Snyder said “the monsters are the men.” Sheriff Snyder is the liar.’
Earlier this month, Snyder defended the hidden camera footage by suggesting it was going to lead to human trafficking charges being brought against defendants in the case.
‘Without the video surveillance, without the clear picture that we now have of the operation, we never could have gotten sex trafficking, which we still haven’t gotten to,’ said Snyder.
‘We would not have been able to charge money laundering. And we certainly wouldn’t have been able to identify 100 men that were availing themselves of trafficked women.’
These comments came before the 2nd Motion to Suppress that was filed in Palm Beach County and obtained by DailyMail.com.
Halfway through the motion, Kraft’s attorney Jack Goldberger described the incidents that were captured on hidden camera as consensual sex acts.
It is tapes of Kraft, 77, having manual and later oral sex act performed on him during appointments at Orchids of Asia Day Spa on January 19 and 20 that the billionaire is hoping to block.
Kraft’s lawyers state that the way police got footage of the defendants was unnecessary at best and unlawful at worst.
His lawyers also argue that the undercover operation is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of the spa guests who committed no crime but were still filmed by the police cameras.
‘At the time officers secured this warrant, they already had ample evidence that solicitation might be happening at the spa (based on supposed confessions from some men exiting the spa, identification of women whom police claim, to have identified as prostitutes, positive semen tests in items found in the spa’s trash), and an array of routine, reliable means for collecting more,’ states the motion filed on Thursday.
‘By no stretch of the imagination did law enforcement need to resort to secret, indiscriminate, continuous videotaping of private massage parlors in order to build a solicitation case around low-level, consensual sex acts.’
The motion also takes issue with the fact that the initial claim by police that there was evidence of human trafficking has proven to be untrue.
‘Florida resorted to the most drastic, invasive, indiscriminate spying conceivable by law enforcement – taking continuous video recordings of private massages in which customers would be stripping naked as a matter of course – in order to prosecute what are at most (according to Florida’s own allegations) misdemeanor offenses, as to which (according to Florida’s own affidavits and search warrants) a wide array of alternative, benign modes of proof was readily available,’ reads the court filing.
Prior to that the motion states that the hidden camera recordings ‘are the fruits of an unlawful sneak-and-peek search warrant that the Town of Jupiter Police Department used to spy on Mr. Kraft and others, while they were in the private rooms of a licensed spa (the “Spa”), receiving treatment from licensed masseuses.’
Those tapes are the reason Kraft was hit with two counts of soliciting a person to commit prostitution earlier this month.
Of the 14 men charged, he is the lone defendant with two counts against him as he visited the spa twice, including the morning of the AFC Championship in Kansas City.
Kraft has entered a plea of not guilty in the case, and demanded a jury trial.
In an apology released earlier this month he stated: ‘In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks.
‘To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.
‘I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.
‘Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.’
That was a reference to his late wife Myra, who passed away in 2011 after battling ovarian cancer.
There was no mention however of his current girlfriend Ricki Lander, who Kraft was photographed with at the Super Bowl in February, two weeks after the alleged incidents that lead to the charges.