New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft may have escaped conviction on charges stemming from his role in an alleged prostitution ring operating out of a Florida massage parlor, but some of the women busted in the same sting have not fared so well.
Two Florida women recently pleaded guilty to solicitation and prostitution charges for charging customers for sex at the Orchid Day Spa in Jupiter, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The guilty pleas come some two months after prosecutors dropped misdemeanor charges against Kraft after video evidence allegedly showing him paying for sex at the spa was excluded from court.
Kraft was arrested in February 2019 as part of a sting operation that police said led to the arrest of some 300 people on charges ranging from solicitation to sex trafficking. The Patriots owner was charged with solicitation, a charge that Kraft and his lawyers denied.
Kraft’s legal team turned down plea deal offers, arguing that video footage from cameras secretly installed by local police officers inside the spa should be kept out of the case against him. A judge, and later an appeals court, agreed. They said the use of the footage violated Kraft’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The pair of women who pleaded guilty in early December did so as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The women, who worked at the spa, were each fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Meanwhile, at least one person allegedly involved in the day spa prostitution ring has been charged with human trafficking and others are facing money laundering and racketeering offenses.
The Kraft case is another reminder of how important it is for anyone charged with a sex crime in Florida to get legal representation.
Criminal defendants have a number of valuable rights and protections under state and federal law. They are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The plea deals are also an example of how some people charged with crimes can avoid long court battles and some of the harshest potential punishment by reaching a deal with prosecutors.
If you or a loved one has been charged with—or is even suspected of—a sex crime in Florida, it is vital that you seek the assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale sex crimes lawyer.
A lawyer can help build the strongest possible defense in the case, fighting the charges head-on. A seasoned attorney will also explore every option for reaching a plea deal when warranted under the circumstances. The sooner that you consult a lawyer, the better chance you have of avoiding a conviction or reducing the charges.
At Whittel & Melton, we represent clients throughout Florida who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses, including prostitution, computer offenses, sexual assault, and rape.
Our firm handles cases throughout the state, including in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola. Contact us online or call (866) 608-5529 for a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale sex crimes lawyer.
This firm was extremely helpful and courteous to deal with. I did not expect to need their services, but was fortunate to find such a great firm. Thank you for your services. Emily Stafford
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