New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered solicitation plea deal
Last Updated: 20/03/19 6:19am
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 24 other men charged with paying for illicit sex at a massage parlour have been offered a plea deal by Flordia prosecutors.
The Palm Beach State Attorney's Office confirmed on Tuesday that it has offered Kraft and 24 other men charged with soliciting prostitution the standard diversion program offered to first-time offenders.
The men must concede they would be found guilty, perform 100 hours of community service and attend a class on prostitution's dangers and how it perpetuates human trafficking, Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state said.
They must also pay a court fee of $5,000 per count. Kraft, 77, was charged with two counts last month.
In return, the charges of misdemeanour soliciting prostitution would be dropped. Edmondson said none have accepted so far. By accepting, the men might also avoid having to appear in court, Edmondson said. That would be negotiated.
Were Kraft to refuse the deal, he would be put on trial and if found guilty, face a possible year in jail, although that would be unlikely. He has pleaded not guilty.
Neither Kraft's representatives, nor the New England Patriots have responded to requests for comment.
The NFL has not taken any action against Kraft but has said its personal conduct policy "applies equally to everyone in the NFL" and it will handle "this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy".
Kraft, who made his initial fortune through a packaging company, bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172m to keep the team from moving to St. Louis.
He hired Bill Belichick as coach in 2000, and the team later drafted quarterback Tom Brady, launching nearly two decades of success.