A Florida judge ruled Monday that all surveillance video footage in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa prostitution case be temporarily sealed, according to lawyers in the case.
Circuit Judge Joseph Marx ordered that the records not be released until either a jury is empaneled, a plea agreement is reached, charges are dropped, or fair trial questions are no longer relevant, the lawyers said.
Marx was ruling on a motion filed by lawyers for the owner of the spa, Hua Zhang, and the manager, Lei Wang. The women have pleaded not guilty to numerous counts related to running a house of prostitution.
The ruling comes after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft claimed a short-term victory last week when a judge temporarily barred the release of surveillance videos of him allegedly paying for sex acts in the day spa, writing that the “fairly unremarkable” allegations have dominated the headlines because Kraft owns “the most successful franchise” in the National Football League.
Monday’s ruling included all video from the day spa case, not just video of Kraft, lawyers said.
“Obviously we’re pleased with the fact that he sealed all the evidence,” said Katie S. Phang, who represents Wang. “It’s a big win. It protects our clients’ rights to a fair trial and it also protects their due process rights.”
Kraft, 77, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at the spa in January in Jupiter, Fla. He’s denied engaging in illegal activity, pleaded not guilty, and requested a jury trial.
Prosecutors obtained a warrant to secretly install surveillance cameras in the spa, which allegedly captured Kraft and 24 other men paying for sex acts in a massage room.
Lawyers for several media companies, including The Boston Globe, have argued the footage should be made public.
Messages left with the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office were not immediately returned.