Robert Kraft is offered pretrial deal that would drop solicitation charges against him in Florida

Tuesday - 19/03/2019 22:43
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Kraft and other men charged would have the charges dropped if they concede they would have been found guilty and fulfill other requirements.

By Doha Madani and Xuan Thai

Florida prosecutors have offered New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and around two dozen other men a pretrial deal that would drop charges against them of soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor.

Kraft, 77, was one of at least 25 people arrested in February as part of a monthslong human trafficking investigation that police at the time said spanned from China to Florida.

The NFL owner pleaded not guilty in late February to two counts of solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Kraft is not alleged to be involved in human trafficking, and a spokesman for him said in a statement last month that they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity."

The offer from prosecutors was first reported Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal.

NBC News obtained a copy of a letter from the prosecutors in Palm Beach County offering a deal to resolve the charges, which sources close to the investigation tell NBC News was given to each of the defendants charged with solicitation in the Orchids of Asia massage parlor investigation.

The pretrial deal is part of a deferred prosecution program sometimes offered to first-time offenders who concede the state would have been able to prove their guilt.

Kraft and the others charged with solicitation in the Orchids of Asia probe would have their charges dropped in exchange for their conceding that they would have been found guilty, completing 100 hours of community service per charge, taking an education course on prostitution, undergoing a screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and paying $5,000 per charge.

Each defendant would also have to provide a statement detailing what happened in the Orchids of Asia massage parlor room.

A lawyer for Kraft did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News about the prosecution’s offer.

State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg said on Twitter Tuesday that such deals with first-time offenders are "standard in cases like this."

All defendants charged with solicitation in the Orchids of Asia investigation were charged with one count of soliciting, except Kraft who was charged with two counts.

The billionaire CEO and chairman of The Kraft Group allegedly visited the spa twice in January, once on the 19th and again on the morning of the 20th — hours before the Patriots won the AFC Championship sending them to the Super Bowl, according to court documents.

Investigators say he was seen on surveillance video with a spa worker on both days.

On his Jan. 20 visit, investigators say Kraft was seen on surveillance video paying cash "at the front desk to an Asian female," one of the affidavits release last month said. He was then escorted into a room where authorities said the sexual activity took place.

The woman then "helped him get dressed and hugged him again" before Kraft allegedly handed her at least $100 and left, the affidavit states.

The Orchids of Asia Day Spa where Kraft allegedly paid for services was one of multiple spas involved in the police investigation. According to a Palm Beach County affidavit, online reviews of the spa used various slang terms that identified that the business provided sexual services.

The NFL said in a statement last month that owners as well as players are subject to the league's personal conduct policy.

"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," the statement read. "We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts."
 



Doha Madani

Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News. 


Xuan Thai

Xuan Thai is a producer for MSNBC in New York.  She previously lived in Washington DC where she covered the White House during the Bush and Obama administrations.  Thai also covered Capitol Hill during the 2011 fiscal crisis, responsible for covering the activities of both the U.S. House and Senate.

She has filed reports from across the country and around the world, including Iraq with Vice President Biden, Saudi Arabia with President Bush, and Indonesia with President Obama.   Prior to her move to journalism, Thai was a federal litigator, representing the United States' interests in federal court.  You can follow her on Twitter @Xuan_Thai.

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