Patriots’ Robert Kraft builds legal dream team for sex case; can they save him?

first_imgKevin Winter/Getty Images(JUPITER, Fla.) — Patriots owner Robert Kraft is bringing a squad of assassins to a fist fight.Kraft is facing two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution for allegedly visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida on two occasions in January and paying for sexual favors from the massage parlor’s staff.The powerful New England Patriots team owner has pleaded not guilty and opted for a non-jury trial, before a judge — while assembling a powerhouse legal dream team of high-profile Florida criminal defense attorneys.He is facing a statutory maximum of one year in jail, though prosecutors often offer first-time offenders a chance to pay a fine and perform community service, while not admitting fault.‘A higher standard’But there may be a more costly reckoning for Kraft looming beyond the courtroom, where the punishment could be far more severe.National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Godell has punished Kraft’s Patriots more severely than any other franchise during his tenure, according to ESPN. He fined them $250,000, and coach Bill Belichick $500,000, for spying on an opponent’s defensive signals in 2007. He fined the Patriots $1 million, stripped them of two draft choices and suspended quarterback Tom Brady as part of the 2015 Deflategate investigation.Even without pleading guilty, league policy states that Kraft could still subject to league penalties, according to ESPN.“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.”Given the stakes, Kraft is assembling a powerhouse legal team to go at the state’s case.The situation Kraft and scores of other south Florida men found themselves in last month is one result of the evolving use by law enforcement of surveillance tactics originally reserved for terrorism investigations.The USA Patriot Act signed in 2001 for the first time authorized the use of so-called ‘sneak-and-peak’ warrants, which allow U.S. law enforcement officials to covertly enter a private premises without the owner’s knowledge or permission, and in the case of the Florida investigation, record video evidence over weeks.While the justification for such an arguably invasive investigative technique is hard to make for a misdemeanor-level prostitution case, but the fact that the probe was a large-scale, months-long operation aimed at human-trafficking, not prostitution, the warrants may hold.‘Sneak-and-peak warrants’Late last month, Kraft recruited defense attorneys Alex Spiro and William Burck, who was a lawyer in the George W. Bush White House.Burck is a Yale Law School graduate who served in the George W. Bush White House and clerked for retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He later as a prosecutor with Southern District of New York between 2003 and 2005.Burck has also represented former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former White House counsel, Don McGahn.Spiro, a Boston-bred Harvard Law School graduate has represented pop stars Mick Jagger and Jay-Z, as well as a raft of top athletes.After then-Atlanta Hawk Sefolosha was arrested in New York for resisting arrest, Spiro wrangled a $4 million to settle out of the city. An alleged nightclub assault resulted in community service for Spiro client Matt Barnes, the former NBA player. When retired New York Knick Charles Oakley was ejected from a Knicks game and arrested after a courtside dispute, he hired Spiro.Spiro, a former Manhattan prosecutor, was also part of the defense team that represented New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in a murder trial. Hernandez was found guilty and later committed suicide in prison.Another attorney on the team is Jeffrey Goldberger, the criminal defense attorney who helped politically-connected Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein reach a non-prosecution deal in 2008 with the Miami U.S. Attorney’s office to end a federal investigation into sex abuse involving at least 40 teenage girls.Epstein ultimately pleaded guilty to state charges and spent 13 months in a county prison with work release privileges, registered as a sex offender and paid settlements to the victims. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into that plea deal.None of Kraft’s three current defense attorneys immediately responded to calls for comment from ABC News.But even with Kraft’s legal dream team, he may have a better chance accepting a deal than going to trial, according to top Florida criminal defense attorneys with experience representing high-profile clients.While Kraft’s lawyers are likely to challenge the validity of the warrants that allowed police to surreptitiously enter the spa and install video recording equipment inside the massage patron’s private massage rooms, the law enforcement goal was far broader that misdemeanor arrests of patrons.“The sneak and peak warrants — if [they were] just for a misdemeanor, that’s not really what they’re normally used for,” said attorney Mark O’Mara, who won George Zimmerman’s full acquittal on murder and manslaughter charges in the fatal 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.“But [authorities] have a much more justified position in that they were investigating human trafficking,” O’Mara told ABC News. “Nobody, no appellate judge, is going to throw out a sneak-and-peak warrant when prosecutors say ‘these women were slaves.’ So with that as the foundation, you realize that it’s probably going to survive a warrant attack” by defense attorneys.‘Turn it around’Another top south Florida defense attorney agreed.“If you have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause that sex trafficking is going on, you want to be able to establish that,” said Mark NeJames, who represented Tiger Woods aft. “You’d typically have a very reluctant perpetrator — in the form of the massage therapist, and you’d need to establish that the act was occurring, and that they were being held against their will. The collateral damage is those who are enabling this, and that’s where Kraft apparently comes into the picture.”NeJame said that optics play little to no role in criminal defense strategies.“Some people think it’s a sign of guilt to bring in top level lawyers, but the truth is anything but,” said Florida defense attorney Mark NeJame, who represented golfer Tiger Woods after he crashed his 2009 Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree while leaving his mansion in Isleworth, Florida. “You are entitled to the best defense possible and if you can afford to bring on a team like this, why would you not bring on the best team possible to look at every legal aspect of the case.O’Mara, who has counseled thousands of clients charged with crimes on whether or not to take a case to trial, said he thinks that the best outcome that Kraft can hope for – particularly in the eyes of his fellow NFL owners — is to take a plea and try and turn the incident around.“Look, you’re 77,” O’Mara said, speaking hypothetically. “What you did was stupid, but you didn’t realize who these women are, and now that you do, you have a great opportunity to turn it around, to turn it into something positive and open the Robert Kraft Center for Trafficked Women. And then nobody’s gonna care about your silly misdemeanor.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Texas Senate passes bill to kill program that critics say can trap poor people in a cycle of debt

first_img The Driver Responsibility Program was created to help fund the state’s trauma care system, an expensive regional network of emergency medical and hospital services. Killing the program has been difficult because legislators have struggled to find an alternative funding source for trauma care. But under this new proposal, hospitals say they would get a more sustainable source of funding — and extra money, to boot.In lieu of additional yearly charges for traffic violations, House Bill 2048 would add $2 to yearly automobile insurance fees and increase state traffic fines — a portion of the fine paid for any traffic violation — from $30 to $50.It would also add additional fines of up to $6,000 for those who drive while intoxicated. Criminal justice advocates worried that this would be a tough fee for low-income drivers to pay, so state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, one of the bill’s co-authors, added a provision that would allow judges to waive or reduce fees for low-income drivers.A proposal to kill the Driver Responsibility Program died in the Senate two years ago after it cleared the House floor and passed out of a Senate committee. HB 2048 has garnered support from hospitals, trauma care facilities and criminal justice reform advocates. But insurance companies worry that the extra $2 bump is regressive, which means the fees take up a larger portion of poor people’s income than rich people’s. However, supporters of the bill say the extra increase is a small price to pay to relieve the financial burden imposed on low-income drivers and generate a sustainable revenue source for trauma centers. Texas may finally kill the widely unpopular Driver Responsibility Program, which critics say leaves low-income drivers with costly bills and without their licenses. A bill to end the program soared unanimously through the Senate on Wednesday — and if the House concurs with the upper chamber’s minor changes, then the bill will head to the governor’s desk.As of January 2018, 1.4 million Texas drivers — nearly 10% of the state’s drivers that year — had suspended licenses for not paying the program’s surcharges. Those yearly fees, which must be paid in addition to a ticket, range from $100 for a few traffic infractions to $2,000 for driving while intoxicated. Under the bill, any pending surcharges under the Driver Responsibility Act would go away.“Everybody said it would not go anywhere, but it finally has,” said state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, during the Senate floor debate Wednesday. By Arya SundaramThe Texas Tribunetexastribune.orgcenter_img After the bill’s successful passage through the Senate, advocates across the state and nation — like the Texas Fair Defense Project, the Texas Hospital Association and a staffer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas — tweeted their praise for what’s been termed a “HUGE” victory.“Texas suspends more driver’s licenses than any other state by far, and this is by far the biggest program,” said Emily Gerrick, a senior staff attorney with the Texas Fair Defense Project. “This many sessions of work that are finally coming to fruition.”Disclosure: The Texas Hospital Association has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.last_img read more

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Julius Timothy will contest next general election

first_img Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Share Sharecenter_img LocalNews Julius Timothy will contest next general election by: – December 13, 2013 26 Views   no discussions Roseau North MP, Julius Timothy (file photo)Member of Parliament for the Roseau North constituency and Minister of Health, Julius Timothy has confirmed that he will contest the next general election.There had been speculation that Mr Timothy, who fell ill earlier this year and was rushed to a Martinique hospital for treatment, would not contest the 2015 constitutionally due elections.In an interview with state-owned DBS Radio on Friday, December 13, 2013, Mr Timothy dismissed speculation that he may not contest the next general election.“I have made it very clear as of today, I am the candidate for the Labour Party for the Roseau north constituency in the next general election”.Mr Timothy won the 2009 general election with 1655 votes while the United Workers Party’s candidate Daniel Lugay obtained 1, 538 votes. The other contenders were Henry ‘Babs’ Dyer of the Dominica Freedom Party 95 votes and Michael Wright of the Dominica Progressive Party 3 votes.“At the constituency level, every month we have our constituency association meeting, we have our executive meeting and it is very clear that Julius Timothy is contesting for the Labour Party in Roseau North for the next general elections,” he continued.Mr Timothy, who also won the 2000 general election with 3, 496 votes on a United Workers Party ticket, said it is clear among the Roseau North constituents that “they have no other person in mind but Julius Timothy for the next election”.He also expressed confidence that he will win the next general election because the “Labour Party is solid in Roseau North”.Outgoing Mayor of Roseau, Cecil Joseph earlier expressed interest in contesting the next general election, if Mr Timothy was not able to do so.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

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Ansa Mc Al, Petra, team up to stage GuyOil U18 football tournament

first_imgAnsa McAl, under its Lasco, Lyrix and Smalta brands, joined forces with the Petra Organization to aid in the staging of the Guyana Oil Company [GuyOil] Under-18 Secondary Schools Football League. During a simple presentation ceremony staged at the entity’s Beterverwagting [BV] headquarters, non-alcoholic brand manager Errol Nelson said, “I thank Petra [Organisation] for having the Ansa McAl Smalta Lasco portfolio of brands which consist of iCool Juice and water along with the Lyrix soft drink on board as the official beverage sponsor of the school league.” Nelson added, “Ansa McAl have been committed to the development of football in Guyana for many years and this is seen from our involvement in sponsorship for many tournaments from the grass root level to the national level.” Meanwhile, Petra Organization representative Mark Alleyne disclosed, “We are always grateful to companies that are looking to support the youths.” The event, which was launched September 13th, and which will run from October 6th to December 9th and will feature 12 teams from Region #3, #4 and #10, is being staged to the tune of $3,520,000.The participants are Annandale Secondary, Friendship Secondary, Vergenoegen Secondary, Uitvlugt Secondary Christianburg/Wismar Secondary, The Bishops’ High, Lodge, St Rose’s High, Dolphin Secondary, Queenstown Secondary and Queen’s College.Among the major schools omitted from the tournament are private institutions Chase Academic Foundation, Sir Leon’s Lesson, Morgan’s Learning Centre, Buxton Youth Developers and Masters Academy.  The tournament kicks off on Sunday at the Ministry of Education ground with four matches. At 11:30hrs, Annandale opposes Vergenoegen, while Uitvlugt battles Wismar/Christianburg from 13:15hrs. In the third matchup, Friendship opposes Marian Academy at 15:00hrs, while Queen’s College tackles Queenstown from 16:45hrs.The event then continues on Monday at the same venue. The Bishop’s High lock horns with St. Rose’s from 15:30hrs, whilst Dolphin Secondary engages Lodge from 17:15hrs.last_img read more

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