Robert Kraft Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Soliciting Prostitution - NBC Bay Area
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Robert Kraft Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Soliciting Prostitution

Kraft has requested a jury trial in the case

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    Goodell Weighs in on Kraft Case

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a public statement about the case against Robert Kraft in which the Patriots owner has pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting prostitution.

    (Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019)

    New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft now says he wants his misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution charge tried by a jury, not a judge.

    Kraft's attorneys filed a court notice Tuesday also waiving his arraignment, which had been scheduled for Thursday. His lawyers also reiterated his not guilty plea, which he made last month.

    Last week, prosecutors offered to drop charges against Kraft if he were to concede he would be found guilty during his trial.

    The Palm Beach County Attorney's Office confirmed the proposed agreement, which has also been offered to 24 other men accused in the widespread soliciting prostitution sting, would also require defendants to complete an education course, 100 hours of community service and a screening for sexually transmitted diseases.

    "The offer of a deferred prosecution agreement with several conditions to first time offenders is standard in cases like this," State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a tweet.

    Those who would concede that they would have been found guilty would also be ordered to pay $5,000 per count. In return, the charges of misdemeanor soliciting prostitution would be dropped. A spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office said none have accepted so far.

    Kraft's attorneys requested a trial by jury Tuesday.

    "With a jury trial, all you have to do is get a single juror to hold out for you," said legal analyst Michael Coyne, who doubts the case will ever get that far.

    Coyne believes the new developments mean Kraft and his legal team can buy more time to work out a plea deal the Patriots owner can live with.

    "His image, his brand, is more important than anything, so it's worth spending large amounts of money to defend," said Coyne. "Normal people would not be spending this type of money on this type of case."

    The 77-year-old Brookline, Massachusetts, native was charged with two counts of soliciting another for prostitution, a misdemeanor, in February after investigators revealed they had caught him on video engaging in sex acts in an illicit massage parlor in Jupiter, including once hours before the team's AFC Championship Game this year.

    Kraft has denied all charges.

    During his press conference at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Ariz. on Tuesday night, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed how the NFL will approach the Kraft case.

    "As I think we said several weeks ago, the personal conduct policy applies to everybody -- commissioners, owners, executives, players, coaches -- and it will be applied to everybody," said Goodell. "But it will be done after we get all the facts, we have all the information, and we'll be fair and smart about it. And that's what we'll do."

    Goodell was asked about a potential punishment for Kraft, and whether he would be the one to discipline the Patriots owner.

    "When we get all the information, we'll make determinations. I'm not going to speculate on where we are or my views on anything. Until we get all the information, we're not to make any discussions or any comments about that. The personal conduct policy is my responsibility."

    Over the weekend, Kraft issued his first statement since being charged.

    "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," his statement said.

    "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."