The Latest: Gossip site can be subpoenaed over Kraft tape
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the prostitution case against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (all times local):
A celebrity gossip website may have to reveal who tried to sell it a video that police and prosecutors say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for sex at a Florida massage parlor.
Circuit Judge Joseph Marx ruled Tuesday that attorneys for Orchids of Asia spa owner Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang can subpoena TheBlast.com in an effort to determine who contacted them.
The Los Angeles-based website reported last week that someone had offered them the video, which it said shows Kraft naked with a spa employee. The site did not buy the video and it has not turned up elsewhere. No one from the website responded to an email seeking comment.
Attorneys Kathleen S. Phang and Tama Beth Kudman also argued that someone at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office or Jupiter police leaked the video. Both agencies denied that.
A second massage therapist who detectives in Florida say performed a sex act on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been arrested and faces several prostitution charges.
Shen Mingbi had a hearing in Palm Beach County on Tuesday, a day after she was arrested. Through a Mandarin interpreter, she was ordered to surrender her passport and stay away from massage parlors.
A $5,000 bond was set for a felony charge and she was granted release on her own recognizance for eight misdemeanor counts.
Her attorney, Antonio Recinos, says she will plead not guilty.
An arrest affidavit says that Mingbi performed sex acts on Kraft, former Citigroup President John Havens and others while working as a masseuse at Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Jupiter, Florida, detectives say they found $43,000 in unreported cash in Mingbi’s bank safe deposit box.
A Florida judge has ordered that a video police say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for sex not be publicly released for now.
Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser accepted arguments by Kraft’s attorneys that releasing the video could harm chances for a fair trial on misdemeanor prostitution charges, and ruled Tuesday that it shouldn’t be handed to the media as a public record until a jury is seated, a plea agreement is reached or the state drops the case.
Kraft was one of several men charged with solicitation after police secretly installed cameras at the Orchids of Asia massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida, in what authorities initially said was an investigation into human trafficking. Prosecutors have since said they found no evidence of trafficking at the spa.
Attorneys for two Florida massage parlor employees plan to ask a judge to hold police and prosecutors responsible for the possible unauthorized release of video that they say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for sex.
The New York Daily News reported last week that someone anonymously contacted TheBlast.com saying they had video showing Kraft naked with another person, presumably a massage therapist at the Orchids of Asia day spa in Jupiter.
Attorneys for spa owner Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang planned to ask a judge Tuesday to hold Jupiter police and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office responsible. The court had barred release of the videos until it can be determined if they qualify as public records.
Kraft and the women have pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges.