• Thu. Mar 4th, 2021

Patriots owner Robert Kraft cleared of soliciting prostitution charges

Florida prosecutors are dropping charges of soliciting prostitution against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, according to court papers filed Thursday.

Kraft, 79, was accused of paying for sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day spa in Jupiter, Florida, on consecutive days in January 2019. Kraft pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology for his actions.

Palm Beach County prosecutors lost a key court decision this week that led to the court tossing video and audio surveillance of Kraft allegedly soliciting a woman at the Orchids of Asia Day spa.

“Although there was probable cause to make an arrest, the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution,” according to a court filing by the office of Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

May 13, 201901:02

Aronberg has called a news conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss the case.

Kraft was one of at least 25 people arrested as part of a months-long human trafficking investigation that police say spanned from China to Florida. He was facing two misdemeanor counts of solicitation.

But a Florida appeals court ruled last month that Jupiter police violated the rights of Kraft and others when they secretly installed video cameras inside massage rooms at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The court barred the use of the surveillance footage at trial, and Aronberg’s office opted not to appeal the ruling.

Kraft’s lawyers filed a motion on Monday asking for the recordings to be destroyed so they could never be released to the public.

“Only by ordering the State to destroy the Videos and to comply with interim measures securing them can the Court guard against the palpable risk of further leak or misuse and correspondingly vindicate the constitutional principles and rights that are at stake in this case,” wrote Kraft’s attorney, Frank Shepherd.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.