New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft is apparently determined to fight his arrest for soliciting a prostitute on two separate occasions at a Florida massage parlor in January. Sources have said he is turning down a plea agreement offered by prosecutors.
Kraft was one of 100 men arrested in a sting operation by Florida law enforcement. Police had conducted a month-long investigation on the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, and other facilities they suspected of being involved in human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution.
A spokesman for the 77-year-old said he is innocent.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” the spokesman said.
Plea Deal Complicated
According to Mike Edmonson, spokesman for the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, the charges Kraft faces are misdemeanors and carry a jail time of no more than 60 days.
But Edmonson said Kraft and 24 other defendants had been offered plea deals in their case, which is common for first offenders. Under the terms of the deal the men would have the charges dropped in exchange for fines, community service and an admission they would be found guilty should the case go to trial.
The only problem for Kraft is if he accepts the plea he will have possibly run afoul of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and could be subject to disciplinary action, such as the eight-game suspension handed down to Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt.
The NFL initially put out a statement after the scandal was made public that it was monitoring the situation. On Feb. 25, though, they issued a more ominous release regarding Kraft.
“Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” the statement read. “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.”
Pre-Trial Tactics Begin
Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned on March 28, and already Kraft and 14 others have filed a motion to block the release of the videotape made by law enforcement in regards to their sting operation.
In the tape, Kraft is alleged to have paid an employee of the spa to perform a sex act. The tape also shows Kraft being driven to the spa.
It was unclear if lawyers for Kraft and the others wanted to try and get the videotape thrown out of any possible trial. Other defendants have filed a motion seeking to ban any police surveillance from being introduced at trial.
The lawyers representing Kraft and the others don’t want the public to be have any access to the tape.
“We want to preclude any party from copying or permitting, facilitating, making or granting any public access” the motion read. “Including any video-evidence” on the basis that such materials constitute “criminal intelligence information.”