Lawyers for people who they say frequented spas in last week’s human-trafficking sex-trade crackdown have asked Florida courts in both Palm Beach and Martin counties to block law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors immediately from divulging photos, audio or videos of the encounters, saying they were generated unlawfully.
In the motions, filed Monday, the lawyers said authorities secretly chronicled people “allegedly engaging in sexual acts” which “occurred behind closed doors,” without the permission or even the knowledge of either the clients or the masseuses.
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That, the motion said, “is a shocking affront to the personal privacy of the Plaintiffs, is an insult to the decency of our society, and is an unprecedented abuse of police powers.”
Richard Kibbey, the Stuart-based attorney who filed the motions, told The Palm Beach Post that no date or time for an emergency hearing in either venue had been scheduled as of Monday afternoon.
The lawyers said they represent both people who’ve been charged, and some who have not but who fear that either a law-enforcement agency or prosecutors will divulge their names. In the case of the latter, the motion said, “no evidence revealed thus far demonstrates anything other than the consensual acts between two adults.”
Even for those who were charged, the surreptitious records were an illegal violation of privacy, the suit says.
The court motions described how what lawyers called the “massage parlor sting” has led to “national news coverage” and that “commentary on this case is at frenzied levels due to the sexual nature of the allegations and prominence of some of the men who are alleged to have broken the law in this case.”
That’s an apparent reference to the revelation that among those charged is Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team, and other high-profile businessmen.
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The motion also says that some of the people recorded were women.
Allowing the press and other third parties to get the materials via public records inquires “would be an unlawful violation of the Plaintiffs’ Constitutional right to privacy” and would “result in irreparable harm and further public humiliation, shame (and) ridicule,” the motion said.
Because so many media outlets already have submitted for any and all records related to the case, the lawyers said, an emergency action is needed because afterward, both their clients and authorities “will have no ability to ‘unring the bell’ if this Court would later rule that the evidence was illegally obtained.”
The lawyers identified their clients as “John Does,” arguing their identities weren’t necessary for purposes of their motion.