Robert Kraft will not accept the current plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors. The Boston Globe reported he is uninterested in any deal involving an admission of guilt. As it stands now, the New England Patriots owner has arraignment hearing scheduled for next Thursday.
Kraft and 24 other men were charged with misdemeanors for allegedly soliciting prostitution at various Florida day spas and massage parlors after a month-long investigation by Florida law-enforcement.
The Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office offered the accused men a plea deal to avoid trial and the risk of jail time. The deal would require them to complete an educational course about prostitution, submit to testing for sexually transmitted diseases, perform 100 hours of community service, and pay a $5000 fine per count.
Most importantly for Kraft, they would have to admit in court that they would have been found guilty had the case gone to trial.
Mike Edmonson, spokesman for the Palm Beach State’s Attorney Office, said this was standard practice for first-time offenders, according to CNN. Edmonson said that none of the offers had been accepted as of this morning.
Kraft has kept quiet since issuing a statement last month.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” said a spokesman for Kraft following the announcement of the charges, according to NBC.
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn sees this more as a tactic by Kraft’s lawyers, who also filed a motion earlier today to suppress video evidence purportedly showing Kraft engaged in sex acts due to lack of probable cause when it was ascertained.
Quinn described the surveillance video on ESPN as reportedly “graphic and damning.”
“This is in case there’s no deal reached that would automatically seal it,” Quinn tweeted today, referring to video evidence. “[I] keep seeing reports that Kraft has rejected the deal. I don’t believe that’s true. He’s indicated he will not agree to admit guilt, but it’s a negotiation.”
A guilty plea would mean that legally the incident never happened. However, it would mean that Kraft would have to admit to receiving sexual services at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida on January 19 and 20.
While pleading guilty would keep Kraft out of serving jail time, it would put the NFL in the awkward position of how to discipline the 77-year-old owner of one of the most successful franchises in football history.
If convicted, second-degree misdemeanors generally carry no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail, according to Edmondson.