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A Florida judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked prosecutors from following through on their newly announced plans to release surveillance videos that allegedly show New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft receiving sexual services for pay at a massage parlor on two occasions in January.
The judge's ruling came after a hearing in Palm Beach County court, where a flurry of motions were filed Wednesday by Kraft and others seeking to block any release of the videos depicting him and other men visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
Kraft's lawyers on Wednesday suggested that the Palm Beach County State's Attorney's office was engaging in "gross prosecutorial misconduct" by moving to release the videos despite having told a judge last week that they would hold off on doing so.
Palm Beach prosecutors — who have charged the 77-year-old billionaire with two counts of soliciting prostitution — said in a new filing earlier Wednesday said they must release the videos of him and the other men to the media and public without unnecessary delay because of Florida's open-records laws.
"Absent a Court order, the State will be releasing the requested public records once it has retrieved and reviewed the records," prosecutors said in their filing.
But that order, albeit a temporary one, came hours later, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach. The judge also scheduled another hearing on April 29 for arguments on whether a protective order should be issued in the case that would keep the videos from public view for a longer period of time.
Kraft's lawyers weeks ago asked the judge in his criminal case to bar the release of the video of the Patriots owner, which they have described as "pornography" and the fruits of an illegal search warrant that allowed cops to secretly place surveillance cameras in the spa.
But prosecutors in their filing Wednesday that they could not for aanother judge's ruling about the release of the videos in connection with a related criminal case against Lei Wang, the alleged manager of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
"The State, as custodian of the records, cannot delay the release of the records to allow a person to raise a constituional challenge to the release of the documents," prosecutors wrote.
Kraft's lawyers filed an emergency motion Wednesday to intervene in Wang's case so they can "oppose the State's intended disclosure" the videos, according to documents obtained by CNBC.
In a letter to a judge, Kraft's lawyer William Burck called the stated intention to release the videos "an extraordinary and alarming development involving what appears to be gross prosecutorial misconduct."
Burck noted that prosecutors last week had said at a court hearing they would not release the videos of Kraft "because Mr. Burck and other attorneys have filed motions for protection."
" 'We're waiting for those to be heard and ruled on,' " the prosecutor told a judge last week, according to Burck's letter. " " 'That's why, obviously, we're not releasing the videos at this point,' " the prosecutor added, the letter noted.
Another emergency motion was filed Wednesday by a man who claims he obtained a lawful massage at the spa, and who asked a judge to bar prosecutors from releasing a video that showed him receiving that treatment.
Lawyers for Wang herself filed a new motion requesting the videos be kept from the public for now.
Spokesmen for Kraft and for the prosecutor's office had no immediate comment when contacted by CNBC.
Kraft's Patriots won the Super Bowl in February.