Robert Kraft plea deal, knowledge of the investigation.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft could soon have charges against him dropped if he and other first-time offenders admit a trial would have proved them guilty of soliciting prostitution at a Jupiter, Florida, day spa, a source with knowledge of the investigation told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
According to The Journal, which first reported the news, the proposed deferred prosecution order would also require Kraft and the other men to take an education course on prostitution, complete 100 hours of community service and undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
“All defendants in that investigation that have been charged with misdemeanors receive a comparable plea offer,” Michael Edmondson, the state attorney’s spokesman, told USA Today.
Edmondson also told USA Today that there generally was “a requirement for either an admission of guilt or an acknowledgement that the state could prevail at trial for the pretrial diversion to go forward.”
Kraft, 77, was one of approximately 100 men linked to several central Florida day spas and massage parlors suspected of being used for prostitution and targeted by law enforcement during a monthslong investigation into sex trafficking, CNN reported. He was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution.
Police said Kraft twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter. Video footage showed him receiving “paid acts” in a room at the spa, and surveillance video showed him being driven to the spa, Police Chief Daniel Kerr told CNN last month.
It is not yet known whether Kraft will take the deal. He has denied the charges through a spokesperson, and has previously pleaded not guilty and requested a bench trial. The Patriots said in a statement to USA Today that they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”
Jordan Wagner, a partner at the law firm Kibbey Wagner, which represents several people charged in the case, told USA Today the offer from prosecutors was “somewhat standard up until when they asked clients to provide a sworn statement…that they’d be proven guilty” if the cases went to trial.
“That was highly unusual,” Wagner said.
Although he does not represent Kraft, Wagner said his firm is investigating the possibility of further negotiating a revision of the deal with the admission of guilt removed, which could affect professional certifications and immigration status of the defendants.