Infotainment Factory: NFL owner faces scrutiny after 'soliciting' charge

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Friday, 22 February 2019

NFL owner faces scrutiny after 'soliciting' charge


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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will faces misdemeanour charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a Florida massage parlour, police said on Friday in a case that could get him in trouble with the NFL.

The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing and he was not immediately arrested.

Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and Kraft's attorneys will be notified. They said details about the charges against the NFL owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

In a statement, Kraft's representatives said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity."

The charge comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.

Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of a six-month investigation, and more are expected.

Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

Orchids of Asia Day Spa

Jupiter police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for "conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in" the NFL.

"Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline," the policy says.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl this month over the Los Angeles Rams for their sixth NFL championship in the past 18 seasons, making them the most successful team in pro sports during that span.

Kraft, who also owns the New England Revolution MLS franchise, lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Though he is a Democrat, he is friendly with President Donald Trump and a frequent guest at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club.

"Well it's very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He's proclaimed his innocence, totally," Trump said at the White House on Friday. "But I'm very surprised to see it."

Kraft's wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million ($A241m). It is now worth nearly $4 billion ($A5.6b).

He hired Bill Belichick as coach in 2000, and the team later drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching its nearly two decades of success.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will faces misdemeanour charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a Florida massage parlour, police said on Friday in a case that could get him in trouble with the NFL.

The 77-year-old Kraft denied any wrongdoing and he was not immediately arrested.

Jupiter police said a warrant will be issued and Kraft's attorneys will be notified. They said details about the charges against the NFL owner of the Super Bowl champion team will not be released until next week.

In a statement, Kraft's representatives said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity."

The charge comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlours.

Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of a six-month investigation, and more are expected.

Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.

Orchids of Asia Day Spa

Jupiter police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn that Kraft, who is worth $6 billion, was paying for sex inside a shopping-centre massage parlour, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for "conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in" the NFL.

"Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline," the policy says.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl this month over the Los Angeles Rams for their sixth NFL championship in the past 18 seasons, making them the most successful team in pro sports during that span.

Kraft, who also owns the New England Revolution MLS franchise, lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft

Though he is a Democrat, he is friendly with President Donald Trump and a frequent guest at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club.

"Well it's very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He's proclaimed his innocence, totally," Trump said at the White House on Friday. "But I'm very surprised to see it."

Kraft's wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.

Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million ($A241m). It is now worth nearly $4 billion ($A5.6b).

He hired Bill Belichick as coach in 2000, and the team later drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching its nearly two decades of success.

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