Ashley Moody, the Florida attorney general, taking up the case for the state attorney in Palm Beach County who charged Kraft and the others, has asked the appellate court to overturn that decision, arguing that the police in the case followed established procedures for obtaining permission to install the cameras. A warrant must “be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate, be predicated on a showing of probable cause, and be particularized as to the place to be searched and items to be seized,” Moody wrote in a 52-page brief. “This warrant satisfied all three requirements.”
The charges against Kraft, one of the most powerful owners in the N.F.L., have shined an unflattering light on the league, which has battled the perception that players and league executives do not treat women fairly. In recent years, the league has been embroiled in a host of domestic violence scandals. Cheerleaders have detailed how they were exploited by their teams. In 2018, Jerry Richardson, the former owner of the Carolina Panthers, was fined $2.75 million after an investigation confirmed claims that for years he sexually harassed employees.
Kraft, 79, is unlikely to face time in jail if the lower court ruling is overturned, but he could face penalties from the league commissioner, Roger Goodell, who has broad authority to hold players, league executives and owners accountable for conduct he deems detrimental to the league. Those penalties can include fines of up to $500,000 and suspensions, based not just on the outcome of the legal case, but also on the damage Kraft may have done to the league’s reputation.
Any decision to penalize Kraft will be complicated by his close working relationship with Goodell and his role on committees that oversee the league’s media strategy, finances and labor negotiations, as well as the committee that sets the commissioner’s salary. Kraft also owns one of the most successful franchises in league history, and within owner and executive circles he is known as “the assistant commissioner.”
“For Kraft, it has huge ramifications, so I can understand why he’s fighting it,” said Ron Herman, a former prosecutor in Broward and Palm Beach Counties who is now a defense lawyer in cases involving prostitution and sexual battery. “A regular guy in Jupiter, he won’t be remembered.”