Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Charged with Soliciting Prostitution

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walks on the sidelines during pregame of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was listed as part of a group charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida on Friday. 

Per Ali Schmitz of USA Today, Jupiter police announced Kraft has been formally charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported the charge is a secondary misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of up to 60 days in jail. 

Per NBC News' Tom Winter, Florida police said they obtained video evidence showing Kraft "involved in acts of prostitution" during their investigation. 

Kraft issued a statement through a Patriots spokesperson denying the charges, via CNN's Jill Martin: "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."

The NFL released a statement on the issue as well, per ESPN's Adam Schefter"The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments."

Per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, NFL owners are subject to discipline under the league's personal conduct policy. 

The last NFL owner disciplined under the policy was Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts in 2014 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge. He was suspended for six games and fined $500,000. 

Matt Lincoln of CBS 12 in Palm Beach noted Kraft's charge is a misdemeanor and a warrant will be issued for his arrest. 

Per Mary Helen Moore and Eric Rogers of Treasure Coast Newspapers, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter has been tied to an international human trafficking ring. 

Kraft's charges stem from paying for sexual services at the spa, which Moore and Rogers noted was shut down, along with nine others in the Orlando, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast area, after an investigation discovered women "were in sexual servitude."

Kraft has a residence at a double-apartment complex in Palm Beach. The 77-year-old has owned the Patriots since 1994 and the MLS' New England Revolution since 1996.