Just three weekends ago, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft stood on a stage in Atlanta (above) holding the Super Bowl Lombardi trophy for his team’s third championship in the last five years. Now, Kraft is facing serious legal trouble in Jupiter, as a warrant has been issued for his arrest on charges of prostitution.
You read that, correctly.
Jupiter police chief Daniel Kerr announced the stunning news at a late Friday morning press conference saying that Kraft had been snared in a Palm Beach County widespread crackdown on prostitution and sex trafficking in the area.
BREAKING: Police: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft being charged in months-long human trafficking and prostitution investigation in Florida. pic.twitter.com/I9YFYjwchg
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 22, 2019
Approximately 200 individuals have either been arrested or have had a warrant issued for their arrest in recent days, as part of the investigation. That multi-juristictional crackdown has included the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Kraft is being charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a prostitute on two different occasions at the “Orchids of Asia Day Spa” in Jupiter, which is a massage parlor that is also apparently a known place for prostitution.
Kerr confirmed his press conference the Kraft is being charged with two separate incidents after two different appearances recently at the day spa, where the average fee for services ranges between $59 for a half hour and $79 for an hour. The Jupiter police say that there is body cam and other surveillance evidence of the alleged acts involving everyone that has been arrested or charged for the arrest, including Kraft.
A spokesman for Kraft emphatically denied the charges Friday, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” said a statement released to the media.
The 77 year-old Kraft has owned the Patriots since the early 1994 and is regarded as arguably, one of the two or three most powerful owners in the NFL, if not all of North American Sports. The Patriots have appeared in 10 Super Bowls during his ownership, nine in the 2000s with six victories. His net worth is estimated at $6 Billion dollars.
Kraft was previously married to Myra Hiatt for 48 years, until Hyatt died of ovarian cancer in 2011. Since his wife’s death, Kraft has primarily been dating an actress / model named Ricki Noel Lander, who is 39 years old.
Kraft is potentially subject the to NFL discipline for the conduct policy. It should be noted that in 2017, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was basically forced to sell his team after allegations of sexual harassment in the Panthers workplace arose. Richardson was never charged with any crimes.
Also, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested and later pled guilty in a DUI case in 2014 and was suspended six games and fined $500,000 by Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2014.
The NFL commented on the arrest allegations involving Kraft Friday afternoon:
NFL statement on Robert Kraft:
“The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2019
Officials with the Jupiter Police Department said they will release more information on the specific allegations against Kraft next week.
The Palm Beach Post reported Friday afternoon that the Jupiter Police obtained a warrant to video inside the spa that exists in a strip mall on January 15th. They claim to have recorded dozens of illegal acts involving customers and the women working in the between the 18th and the 22nd, including capturing Kraft on video participating.
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