New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft apologized to his family, friends and fans and vowed to regain their confidence and respect in his first public statement since being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution as part of a human-trafficking probe in South Florida.
His statement, below, comes after prosecutors offered Kraft a deal on March 18 to drop charges of soliciting prostitution in exchange for an admission that he could have been found guilty in the case if prosecutors presented their evidence at trial.
"In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.
"I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.
"Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.
"As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect."
Kraft and two dozen other men were charged in February 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. The businessman was not accused of human trafficking.
Authorities said Kraft had visited a spa in Jupiter, Florida, 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.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Kraft 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.
Correction: This story's headline was updated to reflect that Kraft was charged, not arrested.