Prosecutors have offered to drop the charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and about 300 other men caught in a crackdown on prostitution and human trafficking in Florida if the men enter a diversion program for first-time offenders. Police accuse the men of patronizing illicit massage parlors that kept women from China captive as prostitutes. The deal prosecutors are offering would require the men to pay a $5,000 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and attend 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. Prosecutors say the fine and community service are required by law and are not negotiable, but attorneys representing some of the accused say their clients will not accept the offer because it is much tougher than what other Palm Beach County solicitation offenders received. Kraft’s attorneys and the Patriots declined to comment.
Lawyers for Kraft and the other men are also fighting to keep a judge from releasing video recordings of their alleged crimes. A group of news outlets has asked a judge to release the evidence in the case to the public, something Florida law usually allows. —Lynde Langdon