Prosecutors are seeking criminal contempt charges against two of Robert Kraft’s lawyers over their courtroom conduct in defending the New England Patriots owner against soliciting prostitution charges, according to a court filing Tuesday in Florida.
Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg alleges that Kraft attorneys William Burck and Alex Spiro intentionally made “a false statement of fact” during a motion to suppress hearing May 1. That hearing dealt with video obtained by police in Jupiter from inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa that Kraft and other men allegedly patronized. The contempt request comes as Judge Leonard Hanser is expected to rule on the admissibility of the evidence any time.
Burck told USA TODAY Sports that the allegations are “ridiculous, false and laughable.”
“Alex and I and our law firm, Quinn Emanuel, will not be intimidated by the state attorney for Palm Beach County,” Burck said. “This is amateur hour. Nobody goes and threatens criminal contempt against lawyers in a case asking questions of a witness.”
Aronberg’s office did not immediately return messages left by USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
The request to hold the two lawyers in criminal contempt focused on Spiro’s examination of Jupiter police officer Scott Kimbark. Kimbark stopped many of the 25 men charged and initially identified Kraft on Jan. 19 after he left the spa as a passenger in a Bentley.
Along with a bid to suppress the video footage, Kraft’s attorneys have argued police did not have probable cause to stop Kraft.
“Did you say, jokingly or not, that you would, ‘make some (expletive) up?’ ” Spiro asked Kimbark about another stop on Jan. 19.
“I’m sure I say a lot of things that are captured on body-worn camera, however, I do not remember specifically saying that,” Kimbark responded. “As it seems like it’s a home run on your side, I would (not) have (brought) that profane word up.”
Prosecutors wrote in the filing that “a review of the radio transmissions and the body worn camera video conclusively show that Officer Kimbark never made the inflammatory remark.”
“Both Attorneys Spiro and Burck represented to the Court that they had watched the body camera tape and heard this comment allegedly made during a previous stop,” the state attorney wrote in the filing. “Either the assertion that they had reviewed the tape was untrue, or their representation of what occurred during the tape was untrue.”
Burck told USA TODAY Sports they have evidence that Kimbark made the remark and will submit it Wednesday.
“We will have a full explanation of the evidence to show everything Alex asked about and it will back up what he said in court,” Burck said.
Florida statutes don’t specifically lay out punishments for direct or indirect criminal contempt, although they can include jail, a fine and could impact a lawyer’s license to practice.
“It also raises issues not only as to whether or not they have their permission to appear revoked, but whether they can any longer represent Kraft, since the judge will be determining whether or not they were in contempt,” former Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Weinstein told USA TODAY Sports.
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