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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Football

Robert Kraft successfully blocks release of spa video (for now)

Robert Kraft

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft scored a significant victory in his case on Tuesday, and the court ruling will prevent the infamous footage of him engaging in sexual activity at a spa from being released — at least for the time being.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, a judge has granted a protective order stating that the alleged video of Kraft at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., cannot be released to the public until the case is over, as it would jeopardize the 77-year-old’s right to a fair trial. While that means prosecutors will not be able to use the potential release of the footage as leverage to get Kraft to agree to a plea deal, it does not guarantee that the video will never be released.

The judge’s order only states that the footage cannot be made public until an agreement is reached in the case or prosecutors drop the charges. While Kraft’s legal team will likely fight to keep it from ever seeing the light of day, it seems highly unlikely that they will be successful.

Two women who run the day spa that Kraft went to filed court documents this month claiming prosecutors have already leaked the video and it is being shopped to media outlets. Kraft’s lawyers have been arguing all along that the surveillance footage was illegally obtained.

Kraft is facing two charges of solicitation of prostitution, and he has already rejected a plea deal that would have seen the charges dropped. While the case seems to have taken a significant turn from where it began, prosectors remain confident that they have enough evidence against Kraft and the other individuals involved.

Frank Clark traded from Seahawks to Chiefs

Frank Clark

The Kansas City Chiefs have acquired defensive end Frank Clark in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seahawks agreed to trade Clark to the Chiefs for a first-round pick this year, a second-round pick in 2020 and an exchange of picks this year.

Seattle placed the franchise tag on Clark this offseason. Kansas City, meanwhile, lost both of their top edge rushers as Dee Ford was traded to San Francisco for a 2020 second-round pick, and Justin Houston was released.

The Chiefs were unlikely to be able to find the pass-rushing help they need in the draft at pick No. 29, and they decided that the better option was to go and get Clark. Schefter added that Clark and Kansas City are working out the final details of a massive contract extension.

If you compare the players, Clark has been more consistent than Ford and has more career sacks (35 versus 30.5) despite being in the league one fewer season. He should be a great addition to Kansas City’s defense.

Report: Robbie Gould tells 49ers he wants to be traded

49ers logo

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch expressed confidence this week that Robbie Gould will be a big part of the team again in 2019, but the veteran kicker apparently has other plans.

The 49ers used the franchise tag on Gould, and the 36-year-old had been negotiating with the team on a long-term deal. His camp recently submitted some proposals for a long-term extension, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that he has pulled those and asked the Niners to trade him.

Gould is one of the best kickers in NFL history and ranks second all-time with a field goal accuracy of 87.745. Lynch said recently that he is unsure about a potential training camp holdout from Gould, but he knows he will be with the team come Week 1.

“I can’t speak to when he’s going to be here,” Lynch said. “But when we kick it off, he’ll be here.”

While Gould doesn’t have much leverage, the 49ers now have to decide if they want to grant him his wish or deal with a potentially ugly situation.

Patrick Peterson causes panic among Cardinals fans with social media activity

Patrick Peterson

Patrick Peterson indicated a few months ago that he had settled any differences he may have had with the Arizona Cardinals, but the All-Pro cornerback could be sending messages once again that he is unhappy.

On Tuesday, Peterson had a cryptic Instagram post that had fans wondering if his future in Arizona is in doubt.

“My boys told me to watch out for the snakes in the long grass! #savageSZN,” Peterson wrote alongside a photo of him with several former Cardinals players who were either traded or not re-signed by the team.

Former Cardinals running back Chris Johnson was among those who replied to Peterson’s post when he wrote, “AZ always gonna be the same until they make changes upstairs.”

If that wasn’t enough of an indication that there is trouble in paradise, a Reddit user also pointed out that Peterson removed all references to the Cardinals from his Twitter bio. He used to have things like “proud member of the #birdgang” on his profile, but that was removed as of Tuesday morning.

It was not that long ago that Peterson went out of his way to publicly apologize for demanding a trade last season, so it’s unclear what — if anything — has changed.

Ezekiel Elliott sends message to those concerned about his weight

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott shared a photo on social media recently that got fans buzzing with speculation that he is out of shape and has gained weight this offseason, and the Dallas Cowboys has issued a clear response to that talk.

The photo in question was posted on Sunday, and many felt it showed Elliott looking a bit flabby.

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Elliott appeared to be in perfectly good condition when he racked up over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage last season, and he did that while playing at 228 pounds. On Tuesday, he shared a video of himself stepping on the scale. It read 230.

Either Zeke lost a bunch of weight in the last 48 hours, or the photo was a bit deceiving. We’ve heard some crazy excuses for NFL players reporting to offseason workouts overweight, but it doesn’t look like Elliott needs to come up with one of those.

Jonathan Stewart signs one-day contract to retire with Panthers

Jonathan Stewart

Jonathan Stewart has decided to call it a career after 11 seasons in the NFL, and it only makes sense that the running back is going out with the team he spent an entire decade with.

On Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers signed Stewart to a one-day contract so he could retire with the team.

The Panthers put together a nice ceremony for Stewart, with current running back Christian McCaffrey presenting him with a No. 28 jersey.

Stewart was drafted by the Panthers with the No. 13 overall pick back in 2008. The 32-year-old signed with the New York Giants last season and appeared in just three games, averaging a career-low 2.8 yards per carry. While he sounded as ambitious as ever after inking the deal, he was clearly not the same player.

For his career, Stewart finishes with 7,335 rushing yards and 58 total touchdowns.

Alleged masseuse in Robert Kraft case arrested on prostitution charges

Robert Kraft

Prosecutors in Florida are continuing to build their case against Robert Kraft and numerous other individuals that were allegedly involved in a prositution scandal at a day spa, and a new arrest was made this week.

According to jail records obtained by 12 News in Jupiter, Fla., 58-year-old Shen Mingbi has been arrested on multiple prositution-related charges that include one count of living off the earnings from prostitution and eight counts of offer to commit or engage in prostitution. Mingbi had been under surveillance back in February when she made a cash deposit at a bank, and police obtained a wage and hour report on her that showed no income reported to the state of Florida. A search warrant for her safety deposit box at the bank uncovered $43,800 in cash.

The arrest comes a week after police arrested 43-year-old Lei Chen on similar charges. Both women are accused of performing illegal sex acts on men — including Kraft — at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.

Kraft’s legal team has been fighting to block the spa video from being released, and attorneys for the spa workers are doing the same. They have accused investigators of illegally leaking the footage before a judge permitted it.

Kraft is facing two charges of solicitation of prostitution, and the 77-year-old has already rejected a plea deal that would have seen the charges dropped. While the case seems to have taken a significant turn from where it began, prosectors remain confident that they have enough evidence against Kraft and the other individuals involved.