PALM BEACH COUNTY (CBSMiami) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is officially pleading not guilty in his Florida solicitation case and is requesting a non-jury trial, according to official court documents.
The documents were filed on February 26 in Palm Beach County, nearly a week after being caught up in a prostitution bust at a Jupiter day spa.
Two misdemeanor charges of solicitation of prostitution have been filed against the 77-year-old billionare. Twenty-four other men were also charged in the case. The charges could mean a maximum of one year in jail.
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.
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 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 in a sprawling sex trafficking investigation involving at least eight spas in the West Palm Beach area.
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 after the charges were announced.
Though as many as 200 alleged johns have been or will be arrested and police have seized at least $2 million in assets, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder called the investigation “the tip of the tip of the iceberg.” What’s been made public is but a fragment of a massive international operation stretching from China to New York to Florida’s Treasure Coast.