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Patriots owner prostitution case goes to appeals court

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Prosecutors accusing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft of twice buying sex from massage parlor prostitutes will try to salvage his case this week by arguing in an appeals court that his rights do not They were raped when the police secretly videotaped him. in the act.

Prosecutors will tell the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals during an online hearing Tuesday that a county judge made a mistake by invalidating the January 2019 search warrant that allows police to install secret cameras at the Orchids spa. of Asia as part of an alleged sex trafficking investigation.

The judge said the order did not sufficiently protect the privacy of innocent clients who received legal massages and prohibited the use of the videos at trial, as well as testimony of what they showed. If the ruling is upheld, it will deliver a fatal blow to the prosecution’s case.

“Sir. Kraft’s fault is virtual certainty” and he has no right to benefit from potential police mistakes that involve innocent customers, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey DeSousa wrote in court documents.

Kraft’s attorneys vehemently disagreed, arguing that if the three-judge panel allows the videos to be used, “cherished civil liberties in Florida and beyond” will be in jeopardy.

“If the state wins this appeal, everyone loses, not just the defendants,” wrote attorney Frank Shepherd. “The government could overlook privacy and constitutional rights while evading scrutiny.”

Jupiter’s police recordings led to misdemeanor charges against Kraft and two dozen other alleged Orchids of Asia customers. Spa owners and some employees are charged with prostitution-related crimes.

Most cases are in limbo while appeals are heard. If prosecutors can’t use the videos, they’ll almost certainly dismiss the misdemeanor charges awaiting trial. Some defendants accepted plea agreements, but Kraft declined. Serious crime cases could continue as they have other evidence in addition to the videos.

Kraft, a 79-year-old widower and a part-time Palm Beach resident, pleaded not guilty, but issued a public apology. He faces a possible one-year jail sentence if convicted, but would likely receive a fine, community service, and other penalties. Kraft, whom Forbes magazine ranks as the 82nd richest American with a value of nearly $ 7 billion, is employing several high-priced attorneys to fight the charges.

DeSousa presented several arguments against the ruling of Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser. Among them:

  • The order is valid because the police downplayed any invasion of privacy by having only three detectives monitoring the video. Any further minimization, such as recording only fragments of each massage, would have made the investigation impossible.
  • Kraft illegally paid for sex and is legally covered by the court order, even if judges determine that the police violated the privacy rights of innocent customers.
  • If the order is invalid, detectives trust her “in good faith” and a sanction that prohibits the video is too extreme.

Shepherd presented several arguments against Kraft. They include:

  • Detectives’ privacy protection efforts were insufficient because they recorded diminished men and women receiving legal massages, making Kraft recordings also illegal.
  • Police had sufficient evidence to charge spa owners with serious crimes without recording, making the cameras “totally free.”
  • The evidence presented by detectives to obtain approval of the magistrate’s order was “deliberately misleading,” denying any argument that they acted in good faith.

Judges will not rule immediately after the hearing; decisions usually take weeks. The losing party will likely appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, which could either accept the case or allow the judges’ rulings to be upheld.

Authorities say the Asia Orchids investigation was part of a multi-country investigation into possible sex trafficking by spa owners who believe they brought women from China and other places to work as prostitutes. Some 300 people were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors, but no trafficking charges were filed: Prosecutors say they received no cooperation from masseurs who they suspect were trafficked.

According to police, the Kraft driver took him to the Asia Orchids on the night of January 19, 2019, where detectives recorded him engaging in a sexual act with two women and then paying an undetermined amount in cash.

Investigators said Kraft returned the next morning and engaged in recorded sexual acts with a woman before paying with a $ 100 bill and another bill.

Hours later, Kraft was in Kansas City for the AFC Championship game, where his Patriots defeated the Chiefs. His team then won the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots’ sixth NFL championship under his ownership.

Prosecutors offered to drop the charges if Kraft entered a criminal diversion program the first time. That would include an admission that he would be convicted if the case went to trial, a $ 5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and attending a class on the dangers of prostitution and its connection to human trafficking.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 am EDT Tuesday on the court’s YouTube channel.

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Florida man fired from insurance company after Costco mask explodes

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The Florida Costco buyer who went crazy after an old woman asked him to wear a mask now has no job.

The man, who said he felt threatened and harassed during the June 27 incident that went viral on social media, was identified Tuesday by internet detectives and later Ted Todd Insurance as Daniel Maples, Fort Myers News reports- Press.

A biography for Maples, who had worked with the insurance agency since 2016, had been removed from the company’s website by noon Tuesday.

The biography previously identified Maples as the company’s “top producing sales agent” and pointed to activities he enjoyed in his spare time, such as hot yoga, traveling, cooking, and “mentoring” others.

Company officials confirmed Maples’ termination in a statement Tuesday.

“Thank you all for your comments and messages to raise awareness about a former Ted Todd Insurance employee,” the statement said. “His behavior on the video is in direct conflict with our company’s values ​​and his employment has ended.”

The company said it also intends to review its “existing internal culture” in light of the disturbing images.

“Threatening behavior and intimidation run counter to our primary mission of being trusted advisers in our community,” the statement continued.

The person who posted the video on Twitter told The Post on Tuesday that Maples, who was wearing a red T-shirt with the words “Running the world since 1776” at the time, yelled at an old woman who asked her to put on a mask. .

Then a man stepped in to defend her while citing the number of new coronavirus cases in Florida since the previous day.

“You’re harassing me,” Maples said to the man.

“I’m not harassing you,” replied the man.

“I feel threatened,” Maples yelled as he walked towards the man. “Back off! Threaten me again! Back off the f-k, put your f-king phone down!”

Attempts to reach Maples early Wednesday morning were unsuccessful.

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Trump administration warns against investing in Chinese companies

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The Trump administration warned of investing in Chinese companies due to the possibility of sanctions and boycotts for the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its strong-armed response to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to a report.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, wrote in a letter to the United States Railroad Retirement Board that investments in China opened their retirees to “unnecessary economic risks,” the report said. Tuesday the New York Times. .

The letter also noted that the investments would put money in the hands of companies “that raise significant humanitarian and national security concerns,” including some that supply the Chinese military.

Citing a “moment of increasing uncertainty,” O’Brien and Kudlow said “the possibility of future sanctions or boycotts that may arise from a wide range of problems, including the Chinese government’s culpable actions regarding the global spread of the Covid – 19 pandemic, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. “

The Railroad Retirement Board, an independent federal agency, managed $ 28.3 billion in assets at the end of 2018, according to the report.

He said the board has placed the assets in a diversified portfolio like many private sector retirement plans have.

The White House warning comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Beijing.

President Trump blamed China for confusing his response to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan City.

And the world’s two largest economies have been involved in a trade war after Trump accused Beijing of treating American companies unfairly and stealing intellectual property.

Last week, China imposed a strict national security law in Hong Kong that cracks down on criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and penalizes “secession”, “subversion” and the organization of “terrorist activities”.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an interview Monday with Fox News, said the United States is considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps over concerns that they collect data from users and share it with the Chinese Communist Party.

“I don’t want to go out in front of [Trump]But it’s something we’re seeing, “said Pompeo.” We’re taking this very seriously. We’re certainly seeing it. “

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Portland Police Union Blames City Officials for Riots: “Condemn Violence”

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The Portland police union criticized public officials for allowing protesters to destroy the city, as protesters once again taunted police on Tuesday night.

In a publication titled “This Cannot Continue,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner called on elected officials to “stand up and defend Portland.”

“Condemn violence and burning, looting and destruction of property,” said Turner. “Trust and support the decisions made by law enforcement leaders who simply want to keep residents, business owners and peaceful protesters safe.”

The Black Lives Matter protests have been going on in Portland for more than a month after George Floyd’s death by police. However, protests have frequently turned violent amid clashes between police, protesters and members of the anti-fascist group Antifa.

Looters also ravaged businesses in downtown Portland in late May.

Turner said the police have suffered verbal and physical abuse for too long.

“As the riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform,” he said. “They are a group of individuals who try to cause injury, mayhem and destruction by mutiny, looting, lighting fires, throwing stones, bottles, mortars, urine and feces at peaceful protesters, as well as the police.

Police confront protesters as demonstrated by supporters of the Black Lives Matter in Portland, Oregon.

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Black Lives Matter protests continue in Portland

Police arrest protesters as demonstrated by Black Lives Matter supporters in Portland, Oregon.

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“These violent criminal acts have dragged on for nearly 40 days non-stop, while the men and women of the Portland Police Office and its associated agencies have shown staggering restraint in the face of the most divisive moment this country has seen in history modern “.

Turner’s letter concluded: “Keep the people of Portland safe and free from riot, while respecting their First Amendment rights. Support police leadership. Support officers. Tell those who intend to burn and loot our great city ​​not welcome here. Put Portland first.

The protests were largely peaceful on Tuesday night, when crowds gathered to pay tribute to Summer Taylor, the 24-year-old protester who died after being hit by a high-speed car Saturday in Seattle, Oregon Live reported. . At one point, a fight broke out between protesters, prompting police to respond and fire two noisy ammunition.

Video from the scene shows protesters confronting heavily armed police.

The groups had planned a “peaceful sit-in” on Tuesday night, as well as a “Night of Wrath for Summer Taylor.”

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