Florida prosecutors have offered New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft a deal to drop charges of soliciting prostitution in exchange for an admission that Kraft could be proven guilty at a trial.
Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State’s Attorney’s Office, told CNBC that Kraft and two dozen other men who are accused of paying money for sexual services at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., were offered the deal Monday.
Kraft, 77, will have until his next court appearance on March 28 to decide whether to accept the deferred prosecution offer or to move the case toward trial. The offer to him was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reports that under the deal, Kraft would have to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, complete an education course about prostitution and do 100 hours of community service.
Edmondson told CNBC that the deal being offered Kraft and the other men is standard in cases where a person who has not previously been convicted of a prior crime is charged with a misdemeanor.
If Kraft and the other defendants satisfy the terms of the deal, the cases against them would be dismissed. If any of the men fail to abide by the terms after accepting the deal, prosecutors would reopen the case against them.
Ian Goldstein, a Florida attorney who is representing three other defendants being prosecuted on similar charges, said, “I have no comment about the ongoing plea negotiations.”
Kraft and the other men were charged last month in a police sting as part of a human trafficking probe focusing on massage parlors in Florida. Kraft was hit with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution and has pleaded not guilty. He was not accused of human trafficking.
Authorities said Kraft had visited a spa on Jan. 19 and 20 in two different Bentleys, and received sexual services in exchange for money. Both visits were captured by cameras police had hidden in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Kraft’s second visit came only hours before he watched his Patriots defeat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.
Kraft’s representatives have been adamant he has done nothing wrong.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” a Kraft spokesman told CNBC. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”