The proposed deal, however, calls for Kraft to admit he would have been found guilty at trial
Florida prosecutors have offered to drop charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a number of other men charged with soliciting prostitution, according to a person familiar with the matter, but there is a catch. The proposed agreement calls for the men to admit they would have been proven guilty at trial.
The proposed deferred prosecution agreement calls for completion of an education course about prostitution, completion of 100 hours of community service, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and payment of some court costs.
But in an unusual provision, the agreement also calls for the defendants to review the evidence in the case and agree that, if it were to go to trial, the state would be able to prove their guilt, this person said. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Kraft and others would accept such a condition. When the charges were announced, a spokesman for Mr. Kraft denied he engaged in illegal activity.
A spokesman for the state attorney’s office said that it is the standard resolution for first-time offenders, or they go to trial. A spokeswoman for the Jupiter Police Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Mr. Kraft, whose Patriots won the Super Bowl in February, was one of more than two dozen men charged with solicitation last month in Jupiter as part of a multi-city investigation into multiple South Florida spas. One of those locations was Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which Mr. Kraft allegedly visited and received sex acts. Prosecutors charged him with two counts of soliciting prostitution, acts they say were caught on video surveillance. Mr. Kraft has pleaded not guilty.
Legal experts have raised questions about the tactics Jupiter, Fla., police used in obtaining search warrants for an investigation they said was intended to stop a growing human trafficking problem.
Prosecutors and law-enforcement officials had described the investigation as a probe into human trafficking and portrayed the men who patronized the spas as contributing to the demand for sex slavery. In announcing the charges, Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County, had called human trafficking “evil in our midst,” echoing the rhetoric of law-enforcement officials.
But no one has been charged with human trafficking in the case. Prosecutors’ affidavits have not detailed evidence of human trafficking at Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
“The police are making this case that this is a major human trafficking ring, and that’s why it’s so serious,” said Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor and managing partner of Tucker Levin, PLLC who is not connected to the case. “The fact that they had cameras installed in the locations for so long somewhat undermines the claim that there was an extraordinary danger to the people working in the establishment.”
Prosecutors alleged they saw Mr. Kraft, 77 years old, enter Orchids of Asia Day Spa, located in a small strip mall, on two occasions and saw him pay cash and receive sex acts. He was identified in a traffic stop after his first visit on Jan. 19, when he was the passenger in a vehicle, and visited the spa again the next day, before the Patriots played the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
At least one of the women Mr. Kraft was alleged to have engaged with was an operator of the spa, while both were licensed, according to Florida Department of Health records.
Mr. Kraft could still face punishment from the NFL, which has said in regards to him that the league’s “personal conduct policy applies equally to everyone.” The league said it would “take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”
The league has previously disciplined players in cases where they were not prosecuted.
“I think Kraft’s biggest problem is going to be NFL management,” said David Weinstein, a Miami lawyer and former prosecutor in the Southern District of Florida. “Their standards are far lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”