When Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots NFL team, was arrested in February and charged with two counts of soliciting acts of prostitution at a Florida “day spa,” law enforcement authorities and the press announced that the arrests of Kraft and 24 other men were linked to a massive sex trafficking ring involving women from China who were forced into prostitution against their will.
But in a court hearing on Friday in Palm Beach County, Florida, prosecutors for the first time acknowledged that those initial claims were not substantiated, according to a CBS News report.
While Assistant State Attorney Greg Kidos said at the hearing that the case originally appeared to have “all the appearances of human trafficking,” he said that the state will not file trafficking charges against anyone in the case, and the investigation into the supposed trafficking operation has ended.
The hearing was held to decide whether or not a police surveillance video of Kraft allegedly receiving a sexual act from a masseuse at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, in January should be made public.
Kraft’s attorneys argued that, in light of the prosecution’s admission that there would be no trafficking charges connected to the case, releasing the video was “not about trying to educate the public about human trafficking,” and would serve no public interest.
“It's basically pornography," Kraft ’s lawyer William Burck told a judge at the hearing. “It’s about getting a video out that everyone will click on because they want to see a famous person engaged in some alleged sexual misconduct."
At a February press briefing, Palm Beach County District Attorney Dave Aronberg admitted that Kraft’s case was not connected to any sex trafficking allegations, as AVN.com reported.
When the arrests were announced in February, prosecutors and Florida state officials celebrated what they said was the breakup of a trafficking ring that involved “dozens” of victims, but law enforcement authorities now appear to have abandoned that claim, having failed to turn up a single "trafficking victim."
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