Robert Kraft, the longtime owner of the NFL's New England Patriots, is facing up to one year of jail time if he's convicted on two counts of soliciting prostitution, a Florida state attorney’s office said Monday.
Kraft, 77, paid people at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, for sex services, according to surveillance video reviewed by the Jupiter Police Department. Many of the women working there were forced into it as part of an international prostitution ring, lived inside the spa, and weren’t allowed to leave, according to arrest records obtained by Treasure Coast Newspapers.
A spokesperson denied that Kraft did anything illegal when the charges were first announced Friday. They added that he won’t be commenting further.
Kraft was allegedly at Orchids of Asia the night before, and the morning of, the AFC Championship game on Jan. 20 in Kansas City, Missouri, according to a photo of the probable cause affidavit tweeted by Palm Beach Post reporter Olivia Hitchcock. Both times, Kraft allegedly paid for handjobs. He then drove off in a Bentley — a blue one in one instance, and a white in the other — after the sex acts.
Besides a year of jail time, Kraft’s charges can carry penalties of 100 hours of community service, $5,000 in fines, and a class on the dangers of prostitution and human trafficking. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also has the authority to fine or suspend Kraft as he sees fit, according to the Associated Press.
Kraft will receive a summons to appear in court at a later date.
Local police have been investigating Orchids of Asia since October, although it’s been open since 2012. The spa was one of 10 that police shut down last week after a months-long investigation, and 25 other people were charged in the investigation. The owner of Orchids of Asia, Hua Zhang, was arrested and assigned charges relating to profiting off prostitution and maintaining a house of prostitution.
Cover image: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft yells to fans during their victory parade through downtown Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, to celebrate their win over the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday's NFL Super Bowl 53 football game in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)