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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject deal to drop prostitution solicitation charges: Report

Key Points
  • New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly will reject a deal that could lead Florida prosecutors to drop criminal charges against him for allegedly soliciting prostitution.
  • CNN reported Wednesday that Kraft will not accept the offer extended to him Monday by the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office.
  • Kraft, 77, is accused of receiving sexual services for cash at a spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two successive days in January.
Robert Kraft, chairman and chief executive officer of New England Patriots
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, reportedly will reject a deal that could lead prosecutors to drop criminal charges against him for allegedly soliciting prostitution.

CNN reported Wednesday that Kraft, 77, is turning down the proposed deferred prosecution deal extended Monday to him by the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office in Florida.

That deal, according to the prosecutor's office, would require Kraft to concede that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him if the case were to go to trial.

But Jordan Wagner, a Florida defense lawyer who is not representing Kraft, told CNBC on Wednesday that the concession would actually be more extensive. Wagner said it would require Kraft and other similar defendants to say they would be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt if they did try the case.

Wagner, whose law firm is representing more than a dozen other defendants in similar prostitution solicitation cases in Palm Beach County, said his clients, like Kraft, also would have to give prosecutors a sworn statement detailing illegal activity they knew of at the massage spas they visited.

Wagner said such a condition is "rare" for a deferred prosecution agreement in Palm Beach County.

Kraft, a billionaire businessman, is accused of receiving sexual services for cash at a spa in Jupiter, Florida, during two visits in January. Those visits were caught on cameras that police hid inside the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which was being investigated for possible human trafficking of women who worked there.

During the first visit, on Jan. 19, Kraft allegedly was serviced by two workers at the spa.

The second visit, just a day later, occurred hours before Kraft watched the Patriots defeat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. Kraft is not accused of any crime related to human trafficking.

Kraft's lawyer in Florida, Jack Goldberger, was not accepting calls on the case, his assistant told CNBC.

CNBC has reached out for comment to Kraft's other attorney, William Burck.

Kraft is due to appear in court on March 28.

He and two dozen other men charged in similar cases have until their court appearances to decide whether to accept the deal from prosecutors.

If the defendants accept the deal, they would have to agree to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, complete an education course about prostitution, and do 100 hours of community service.

If they complied with those conditions, the charges would be dismissed. But if they failed to comply with the terms, the case would resume and head toward trial.

The deal offered Kraft and the other defendants is standard in Palm Beach County for people accused of misdemeanors who do not have a prior criminal conviction, according to the State's Attorney's Office.

But Wagner, the attorney for other defendants in similar cases to that of Kraft's, said the requirement that defendants agree that would be found guilty if they did not take the deal is very unusual.

Asked if his clients would take the deal, Wagner said, "I think our position right now is to keep investigating the case and to keep seeing all the evidence.

A spokesman for Kraft had said after he was accused, "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."

Even if Kraft resolves the case in Florida without pleading guilty or going to trial, he still faces possible discipline from the National Football League.

The NFL has said it will handle the allegations against Kraft "in the same way we would handle any issue under" the league's personal conduct policy.

That policy mandates that owners, players and other employees avoid "conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in" the NFL.

"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 NFL said last month.