Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting prostitute

Published 5:58 pm PST, Friday, February 22, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. — Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, faces charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-center massage parlor, police said Friday.

Kraft, 77, denied any wrongdoing. The case comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlors.

Kraft was not immediately arrested for the incidents that allegedly took place inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said a warrant will be issued, and details about the misdemeanor charges will not be released until next week.

In a statement, Kraft’s representatives said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”

Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

Most people charged for the first time with soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would probably have to perform 100 hours of community service and attend a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking, he said.

The arrest could also get Kraft in trouble with the NFL, which in a statement said only that it is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

Kraft’s wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating actress Ricki Noel Lander, 39, since 2012.

Terry Spencer and Joshua Replogle are Associated Press writers.

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