When police and prosecutors announced the raid on a series of massage parlors in Florida that ensnared New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, they strongly implied that the raid had busted up a ring of human trafficking. But no one involved was charged with any trafficking-related crime.
Now, the sheriff in the case says there’s not enough evidence to make the case for trafficking.
“It looks like trafficking. It feels like trafficking. It sounds like trafficking. I believe it is human trafficking,” Sheriff William Snyder told Contact 5 in Florida. “But we are just a little short to being able to prove that.”
The comments came as part of a story showing that detectives had “sneak-and-peek” warrants that allowed them to watch the massage parlors for several months, including multiple hidden cameras. The operation led to the arrests of more than 300 people in connection with the stings.
Kraft’s attorney replied forcefully to Snyder’s comments.
“Sheriff Will Snyder admitted that there was no human trafficking,” William Burck, who represents the 77-year-old Kraft, told USA Today Sports Wednesday night. “He lied about it. His officers lied about it. I don’t really know what to say. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.”
The owner was charged with two counts of solicitation.
Kraft released a statement last week, apologizing to fans, friends, his family, and the team for his part in the controversy but at the same time maintaining his innocence of the charges, per The Inquisitr. It represented the owner’s first public comments on the subject since his alleged massage visits first hit the news.
Kraft's lawyer and Florida sheriff have reached the name-calling phase of their relationship https://t.co/Xq3L3vGUqv— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 28, 2019
“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,” Kraft said of his wife Myra, who passed away in 2011.
A letter sent earlier this month by a group of assault survivors and abuse advocacy groups, per The Inquisitr, called on the NFL to banish Kraft from league ownership if it’s determined that he solicited sex. The reasoning is that the NFL must strike at Kraft because “men who purchase others for sex inflict inestimable amounts of human suffering on those they exploit for sex.” The letter was posted to the website of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which said it was also considering sending a similar letter to the esports federation the Overwatch League, where Kraft also owns a franchise.