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No 'special justice' for Kraft after massage sex sting

2019-02-26 13:02
Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft (AP)

Miami - New England Patriots boss Robert Kraft will receive no special treatment prosecutors vowed on Monday after formally charging the billionaire team owner with soliciting sex.

Kraft was named by police on Friday after being caught among 25 men suspected of paying for sex at a massage parlour in Jupiter, Florida.

The 77-year-old owner of the six-time Super Bowl champions has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution, Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

The first degree misdemeanour charges are punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5 000 fine or community service.

Aronberg told reporters that Kraft, one of the richest men in the United States and a friend of US President Donald Trump, would be treated no differently to others in the case.

"I can assure you that our office treats anyone the same, whether you have a lot of money or are indigent," Aronberg said.

"No-one gets special justice in Palm Beach County."

Aronberg said prosecutors viewed the case as an example of human trafficking.

"This is not about lonely old men, or victimless crimes," Aronberg said.

"This is about enabling a network of criminals trafficking women into our country for sex. It's about modern day slavery."

Law enforcement said in a statement Kraft had been observed entering the massage parlour on two separate occasions last month, on January 19 and January 20 - the morning of the Patriots AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Details of an affidavit released Monday said Kraft had been seen entering the Orchids of Asia Day Spa at 10:59 on January 20. 

His exchange with a female worker inside the spa was caught on a surveillance camera, before he left the facility at 11.13am, according to the affidavit.

Hours later, Kraft attended the Patriots victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium where they won 37-31 in overtime to reach the Super Bowl.

The NFL meanwhile on Monday said Kraft would face "appropriate action" from the league if he was found to have violated personal conduct rules.

An updated statement from the NFL said that while the league would let the investigation take its course, the personal conduct rules used to sanction players also extended to team owners.

"Our personal conduct policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL," the NFL said.

"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."

Kraft, whose wife Myra died in 2011, became the principal owner of the Patriots in 1994 and has seen the club win six NFL crowns.

Punishment from the NFL would almost certainly be forthcoming if Kraft is found to have violated personal conduct rules.

A league bylaw gives NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the power to sanction an owner for "conduct detrimental to the welfare of the league."

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games in 2014 and fined $500 000 after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence.

Read more on:    robert kraft  |  nfl

 

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