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Patriots Owner Apologizes              03/24 10:48

   MIAMI (AP) -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is apologizing after 
being charged in a Florida massage parlor prostitution investigation.

   "I am truly sorry," Kraft said in a statement Saturday. "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."

   The statement was first reported by ESPN.

   Kraft said he has "extraordinary respect for women," adding that his morals 
were shaped by his late wife. Myra Kraft died in 2011.

   "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," he said.

   "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," Kraft said.

   Kraft pleaded not guilty last month to two counts of misdemeanor 
solicitation of prostitution.

   This week, attorneys for 77-year-old Kraft and other men charged in multiple 
Florida counties asked a judge to block the release of video recordings that 
police say show them engaging in sexual acts. The Associated Press is part of a 
media coalition trying to get the evidence in the case released.

   Prosecutors have offered to drop the charges if Kraft and the men enter a 
diversion program for first-time offenders. That would include an admission 
they would be found guilty if their case went to trial, a $5,000 fine, 100 
hours of community service and attendance in a class on the dangers of 
prostitution and its connection to human trafficking. They would also have to 
make a court appearance and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

   Attorneys representing other defendants told the AP their clients won't 
accept the offer because it is much tougher than what is offered in other Palm 
Beach County solicitation cases.

   Kraft has an arraignment court hearing scheduled Thursday, though he is not 
expected to appear in person.

   Kraft is one of about 300 men charged between Palm Beach and Orlando as part 
of a crackdown on illicit massage parlors and human trafficking. Ten parlors 
have closed and employees have also been charged. Many of the women are 
originally from China and were forced to live in the spas and not allowed to 
leave without an escort, according to investigators.

   According to police records, Kraft was chauffeured on the evening of Jan. 19 
to a Jupiter massage parlor, where officers secretly recorded him engaging in a 
sex act and then handing over an undetermined amount of cash.

   Investigators said Kraft returned 17 hours later. Kraft, who is worth $6 
billion, was again videotaped engaging in sex acts before paying with a $100 
bill and another bill, police said.

   Hours later, he was in Kansas City for the AFC Championship game, where his 
Patriots defeated the Chiefs. His team then won the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the 
Patriots' sixth NFL championship under his ownership.

   William Burck, one of Kraft's attorneys, told ESPN on Friday that police 
improperly obtained a search warrant to secretly install cameras inside the 
Jupiter massage parlor.


(KA)

 
 
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