Prosecutors in Palm Beach County are offering to drop charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others charged in a prostitution case if they admit they would have been proven guilty at trial, according to a new report.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the deal, offered to Kraft and an unknown number of other men accused in the widespread soliciting prostitution sting, stipulates that they must complete a prostitution education course, perform 100 hours of community service and be screened for sexually transmitted diseases.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg responded to the Journal's tweet to their story that called it an "unusual deal," though he walked back that characterization in a later tweet.
"Correction: The offer of a deferred prosecution agreement with several conditions to first-time offenders is standard in cases like this," Aronberg tweeted Tuesday.
Kraft, 77, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution.
About 300 men have been charged and 10 massage parlors closed in multiple counties between Palm Beach and Orlando as part of a law enforcement crackdown on illicit massage parlors and human trafficking. Several operators and employees have also been charged.
Police say Kraft visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, twice in late January just before he flew to Kansas City to see the Patriots defeat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
According to police records, Kraft was chauffeured to the massage parlor in a 2014 white Bentley on the evening of Jan. 19, where officers say they secretly videotaped him engaging in a sex act and then handing over an undetermined amount of cash.
Investigators said Kraft returned 17 hours later, arriving at the upper-middle class shopping center where the spa was located in a chauffeured 2015 blue Bentley, the documents said. Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was videotaped engaging in sex acts before paying with a $100 bill and another bill, police said. Hours later, he was in Kansas City for the game. His team then won the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the Patriots' sixth NFL championship under his ownership.
Kraft has denied wrongdoing. The NFL has not taken any action against him but has said its personal conduct policy "applies equally to everyone in the NFL" and it will handle "this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy." Kraft's wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.
Authorities investigated the parlors for months, gathering evidence through observation, interviews with apparent customers as they were leaving the spas, trash bin searches and surveillance of their owners. Judges then issued warrants allowing them to secretly install cameras inside the spas to record what transpired.
Many of the spa's alleged operators and workers were born in China, and Chinese translators are being used to interview women connected with the businesses, according to court documents. The documents said many of the workers say they were forced to live at the spas and were not allowed to leave without an escort.