By Viktoria Ristanovic
Nation & World Editor
According to the Palm Beach County court documents, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has pleaded not guilty on Thursday, Feb. 28 to his two charges of solicitation prostitution, Sporting News reported.
Kraft, whom authorities said visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida in January, was charged with two first-degree misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution on Feb. 25, according to NFL News.
NBC News reported that Kraft and at least 24 other people were arrested on allegations of soliciting prostitution at the Florida massage parlor, which has been one of several spas under investigation in a human-trafficking probe that has been going on for months.
According to NFL News, a representative for Kraft stated that they “‘categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.’”
The not guilty plea was entered Thursday, Feb. 28 through Kraft’s attorney, Jack Goldberger. Kraft also appealed for a non-jury trial, Sports Illustrated reported.
As a first-time, non-violent offender, it is possible that Kraft could be eligible for Florida’s pretrial misdemeanor diversion program. If Kraft engages in the program, he would take blame for his actions and make a compensation via fine or community service. If Kraft were to cooperate with the program, the charges would be dismissed and he would have no criminal record, according to Sports Illustrated.
Sports Illustrated reported that the Jupiter Police Department affirmed that there is video evidence of the Patriots owner at the spa engaging in “sexual acts with women.” However, there is no audio in the video, which will render it difficult for prosecutors to prove that Kraft is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dave Aronberg, a Palm Beach County state attorney, stated that if Kraft is found guilty of either misdemeanor charge, he could serve up to one year of jail time, pay a mandatory fine, complete up to 100 hours of community service and be obliged to take a class on the dangers of prostitution, Sporting News reported.
Court documents showed that Kraft is scheduled to be appear in court on March 27, according to Sporting News.