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JUPITER (CBSMiami) – Charges have officially been filed against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others in connection with a prostitution bust at a Jupiter day spa.
The Palm Beach state attorney’s office announced the update during a Monday press conference. The charges could mean a maximum of one year in jail.
The 77-year-old billionaire, and 24 other men, are being charged with misdemeanor charges of solicitation of prostitution.
Police say Kraft was involved in two incidents in the last month at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa and there is video evidence of both showing him in the act.
Kraft has been classified as a resident of Palm Beach County because he has a home there. As a result, he will be mailed a summons to court.
A court appearance for Kraft has been set for April 24. He does not need to appear and a lawyer could represent him.
“These cases aren’t about any one defendant or any group of defendants, the larger picture in which we must all confront is the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are themselves victims, often lured into this country with promises of a better life only to be forced to live and work in a sweat shop or a brothel, performing sex acts for strangers,” said State Attorney Dave Aronberg.
According to court documents, Kraft visited Orchids of Asia on Saturday, Jan. 19, and the morning of Sunday, Jan. 20. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game that Sunday.
Kraft has not been arrested. He could also face discipline from the NFL under the league’s personal conduct policy.
“Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL. 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,” the league said in a new statement Monday morning.
The incidents are part of a larger crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution at at least eight spas in the West Palm Beach area. About 200 arrest warrants have been issued in the overall investigation.
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,” a spokesperson for Kraft said in a statement Friday afternoon after the charges were announced.
A report surfaced Friday that Kraft was not to the most prominent name that would come out of the bust. On Monday, Aronberg said he did not believe that to be the case.
“I was asked earlier today about rumors about ‘bigger fish’ and I said that that would be news to me. And I also added that it’s hard for me to talk about rumors especially false ones,” he said.
Kraft was spotted at a pre-Oscars party in Beverly Hills Saturday, but he did not speak to the media. On Monday, TMZ spotted Kraft and Tom Brady arriving back in Massachusetts on a private plane.