New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with soliciting prostitution at a Florida spa just hours before the Patriots played in the AFC Championship Game, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Palm Beach County.
The 77-year-old billionaire is among 25 people charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution, State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg said Monday.
The charges resulted from a monthslong investigation into sex trafficking that focused on several central Florida day spas and massage parlors suspected of being used for prostitution.
Kraft faces two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution. He allegedly visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on January 19 in the afternoon and again on the morning of January 20, according to the affidavits.
The Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Missouri later on the 20th to advance to the Super Bowl.
Under Florida law, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 civil penalty, and a mandatory 100 hours of community service and educational program on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.
Covert surveillance equipment was installed at the spa on January 17 as part of the investigation, the affidavit states.
On the afternoon of the January 19, the cameras show Kraft visited the spa and paid for services in cash at the front desk, and he was then taken to a massage room, undressed and lay on a massage bed. A female employee can be seen on the video manipulating his genitals and later wiping Kraft’s genitals with a towel.
Afterward, Kraft left the facility and got into a white Bentley, and police then conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and confirmed his ID, the affidavit states.
The next day, Kraft returned to the spa at about 10:59 a.m. and again undressed and lay face up on a massage table, the affidavit states. There, a woman began manipulating his genitals and then put her head down by his genitals, the affidavit states. After a few minutes, the woman used a towel to wipe Kraft near his genitals, the affidavit says.
Kraft gave her a $100 bill plus at least one other unidentifiable bill and left the room at 11:13 a.m., according to the document.
Kraft denies wrongdoing
Kraft, who has a home in Palm Beach, has retained a defense attorney in Florida, according to Mike Edmondson with the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
Kraft would not need to appear in Jupiter on the two counts, according to Edmondson. His attorney could appear on his behalf.
A spokesperson for Kraft has denied that he committed a crime.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” the spokesperson said.
CNN on Monday obtained a new statement from the NFL regarding Kraft and the league’s personal conduct policy. “Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” the statement said.
“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. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”
By Chuck Johnston, Joe Sterling and Eric Levenson, CNN