Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution on day of AFC title game
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with soliciting prostitution at a Florida spa just hours before the Patriots played in the AFC Championship Game, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Palm Beach County.
The 77-year-old billionaire is among 25 people charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution, State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg said Monday.
The charges resulted from a monthslong investigation into sex trafficking that focused on several central Florida day spas and massage parlors suspected of being used for prostitution.
Kraft faces two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution. He allegedly visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on January 19 in the afternoon and again on the morning of January 20, according to the affidavits.
Video footage shows him receiving “paid acts” in a room at the spa and surveillance video shows him being driven to the spa, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said Friday.
The Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Missouri later that same day to advance to the Super Bowl.
Under Florida law, the charge is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 civil penalty, and a mandatory 100 hours of community service and educational program on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.
Kraft, who has a home in Palm Beach, has retained a defense attorney in Florida, according to Mike Edmondson with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
Kraft would not need to appear in Jupiter on the two counts, according to Edmondson. His attorney could appear on his behalf.
A spokesperson for Kraft has denied that he committed a crime.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” the spokesperson said.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said the solicitation charge often carries another punishment as well.
“They also have an interesting provision in Florida law that you have to complete 100 hours of community service and attend a prostitution and human trafficking awareness course,” said Callan.
CNN on Monday obtained a new statement from the NFL regarding Kraft and the league’s personal conduct policy. “Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” the statement said.
“We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the Policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”