Jupiter, Florida: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to a human trafficking ring and requested a non-jury trial in South Florida.
Kraft, 77, was charged last week with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting a prostitute. Prosecutors said he solicited a prostitute on at least two occasions at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla., about 80 miles north of Miami.
An affidavit from Jupiter police said they have video evidence Kraft paid for a sex act at the spa hours before the Patriots won the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 20.
The offenses carry penalties of up to a year in jail, probation and fines.
A representative for Kraft denied the accusations.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” the representative said.
Kraft was one of 25 men charged after an investigation into the spa. Hundreds of others are being charged in connection to investigations at 10 other spas throughout Florida, including in Martin County and Orlando.
Kraft’s Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month. He’s a regular figure on national football broadcasts, often seen watching his team from the owner’s box at the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium. He’s also CEO of The Kraft Group, which owns Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution and International Forest Products.