New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Breaks Silence After Being Charged for Soliciting Prostitution in Florida

Robert Kraft says he's innocent of the prostitution solicitation charges headed his way.

A spokesperson for the 77-year-old New England Patriots owner told ESPN: “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Florida officials announced in a press conference on Friday connected to a massive human trafficking sting that Kraft would be charged with two misdemeanors of soliciting a prostitute.

Kraft was named as part of a sting that has been going on for months, according to Florida officials. His charges relate specifically to "two different visits" to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, Police Chief Daniel Kerr said at a news conference.

"Charges have been filed, but he has not been arrested," Jupiter police spokesman Kristin Rightler told CNN Friday afternoon.

Kraft is one of 25 people being charged in the bust that focused on 10 human trafficking sites that advertised themselves as massage parlors. Nearly 200 people were named in an investigation released earlier this week. Officials say there is video evidence against "all of the individuals being charged."

Officers involved in the sting had been wearing body cameras, Kerr said, and were also involved in ongoing surveillance at the business.

The investigation shut down spas that ran from Palm Beach County to Orange County. Police said that women lived at the spas and worked as prostitutes.

Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey told TCPalm.com that many of the women came from China on temporary work visas and were indebted to brokers who helped them reach the U.S. — but believed legitimate jobs awaited them.

“Some of them are trying to make a better life for themselves,” Currey said. “These people truly are stuck.”

Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 after years of owning season tickets. Since then, the franchise has played in 10 Super Bowl game and won six, including earlier this month in Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.

0comments

Kraft is also CEO of The Kraft Group, a holding company of numerous family businesses including International Forest Products, as well as Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.

Kraft was married to Myra Hiatt Kraft for 48 years until Myra's death in 2011 at the age of 68. The couple had four sons. Kraft has denied paternity of the child of his girlfriend, Ricki Lander, who gave birth in the fall of 2017.