New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution from his involvement with the Jupiter Day Spa prostitution ring last January, is now being tried for felony charges that are being argued among lawyers for the state of Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Because of the cases high-profile nature, the elevation of misdemeanor charges to a felony is an uncommon move. However, given the nature of the crime and the name attached to it, it’s not unheard of.
Veteran criminal defense attorney Jack Fleischman, who isn’t connected with the litigation was quoted by the Sun Sentinel saying, “I literally have never seen that enhancement used in any county… it has to be rare.”
In May, a judge ordered all video evidence of Kraft partaking in any sexual behavior at the spa to be thrown out. The videos were taken without any knowledge of the patrons at the spa during a five-day surveillance by police, in an attempt to put a stop to any prostitution and human trafficking. The aforementioned judge determined police didn’t have a lawful warrant for the cameras, and the evidence had been tossed.
The current focal point of the battle is the lawfulness of the warrant for the cameras to be placed in the spa(s) for constant surveillance for days on end. Judge Leonard Hanser of Palm Beach has deemed the warrant "flawed" as the surveillance wasn't focused solely on the criminal acts taking place.
Through the investigation of 10 spas around Florida, almost 300 men were charged last February during the undercover investigations. Kraft happened to be the most prominent figure from the busts. A purchase of prostitution on multiple days is a felony, and as Kraft did just that, the argument culminates around the real possibility that he could be tried for a third degree felony.
The initial concern of human trafficking stemmed from a report of Chinese sex workers living at the spa and operating under false pretenses. Because the workers wouldn't cooperate with the investigation, it further sullied the waters of the prostitution sting, now bringing the case back to the light.
No human trafficking was found at the spa. However, that doesn’t end the ongoing legal battles that are ahead in Florida involving Kraft, who was allegedly seen on video engaging in sexual activity at the spa in January.
The attorney general will currently not speak on the ongoing case. Kraft's legal representation couldn't be reached for a quote either, according to the SS.
If found guilty and convicted, Kraft could spend up to five years in prison.