By WBZ NewsRadio
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is pleading not guilty in a Florida prostitution solicitation case and has asked for a jury trial, according to court filings.
The brief was filed in Florida’s Palm Beach County Court by his attorney Tuesday.
“Counsel having previously entered a Notice of Appearance on behalf of ROBERT KRAFT, hereby waives arraignment, pleads not guilty to all charges and requests a jury trial in the above styled cause,” the filing read.
Kraft is one of about 300 men charged in multiple counties between Palm Beach and Orlando as part of a crackdown on illicit massage parlors and human trafficking.
Court records indicate that on January 20, Kraft was spotted on video in the massage parlor, where he paid cash at the front desk to an Asian female, whose name was redacted. He was then escorted into a room where authorities say Kraft was captured on surveillance video participating in a sex act. Records say after the act, that Kraft gave the woman a $100 bill plus another unidentifiable bill. Kraft was allegedly in the building for about 14 minutes.
Police also said a detective spotted him entering and spending about 39 minutes inside the building the previous day.
Earlier in March, Florida prosecutors in Florida offered Kraft a plea deal. They offered to drop charges against Kraft and 24 others, but said they'd have to admit to the charges—along with paying fines and doing community service. Kraft rejected that deal and filed a motion in court that would suppress video evidence being used against him.
Ten parlors have been closed and employees have also been charged. Many of the women are originally from China, and were allegedly forced to live in the spas and not allowed to leave without an escort, according to investigators.
The owner of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the Jupiter, Florida, parlor Kraft is accused of visiting, is charged with 29 felony prostitution and related charges. Authorities investigated the 10 parlors for months, gathering evidence through interviews with men stopped leaving the spas, trash bin searches and surveillance of the spa owners. Judges then issued warrants allowing them to secretly install cameras inside the spas to record what transpired.
Police said they have video of Hua Zhang's employees performing various sex acts with two dozen customers. Zhang, 58, has pleaded not guilty.
On March 23, Kraft broke his silence since being charged and issued a public apology.
“In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.
I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.
Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. 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.
As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect.”
This is a developing story. Stay with WBZ NewsRadio.