According to reports coming out of South Florida, New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft has been charged with solicitation of prostitution:
#Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with two separate counts of soliciting prostitution in Jupiter, FL as part of a human trafficking sting operation involving other individuals. pic.twitter.com/tFznBq52kH— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) February 22, 2019
“The charges stem from a months long investigation into a massage parlor,” CBS4’s Jim DeFede reports. “Investigators claim Kraft was a regular visitor to the Orchid Spa and that there is video of Bob Kraft inside the ‘spa.’”
“Kraft is being charged with two counts of solicitation,” ProJo’s Mark Daniels reports. “This also involved human traffickers...Warrants were issued for 173 people.”
The women at the massage parlor “were told they were coming to [the United States] for legit jobs, [but] were in fact held as virtual prisoners/sex workers,” per MSNBC’s Chris Jansing.
Daniels added that there will be a warrant out for Kraft’s arrest.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” Robert Kraft’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
The NFL also released a statement on the matter: “The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
More on this story as it comes out.
[UPDATE Monday, 2/25] The NFL released a second statement:
Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL. 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.
Court documents revealed that Kraft visited the massage parlor in question on the weekend of the AFC Championship Game.
Palm Beach County state attorney David Aronberg said that Kraft does not have to appear in person to his court date on April 24, his attorney can appear in his place. Furthermore, the Patriots’ owner is facing two first-degree misdemeanor charges.
[UPDATE Thursday, 2/28] Robert Kraft pleads not guilty to his charges, with the case now scheduled on March 27.