Florida prosecutors are charging New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with two counts of soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg told reporters that Kraft ― alongside 24 other defendants ― received a summons over his visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, where he allegedly solicited sex acts for money on Jan. 19 and 20.
The 77-year-old, who owns a home in Palm Beach, faces up to a year in jail over the charges, according to CNHI. He won’t have to show up in person to respond to the charges through his lawyer.
Kraft was implicated in a multi-jurisdiction human trafficking investigation at massage parlors in Florida, which could net more than 200 people when it’s all said and done.
Aronberg called human trafficking “evil in our midst” and “stealing freedom,” but noted that there’s “a high burden of proof” to issue such a charge and that none of the 25 individuals in this particular sting faced human trafficking felonies.
Police began surveilling the spa around the clock in November after getting a tip, according to The New York Times. To get cameras inside, they reportedly claimed there was a potential bomb threat at the location on Jan. 17, evacuated everyone inside and then planted the equipment. They recorded for five days, and each of the encounters that led to criminal charges were videotaped, according to the Times.
Kraft has denied the charges. The NFL released a statement on Monday morning noting that its conduct policy ― and punishments therein ― “applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” according to Boston.com.
“We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the Policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Kraft owns a home in Palm Springs. He owns a home in Palm Beach.