Two solicitation of prostitution charges filed against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in Florida were dropped Thursday, court documents show.
“Although there was probable cause to make an arrest, the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution,” State Attorney David Aronberg wrote in court documents.
Kraft, an influential NFL owner, was one of dozens charged in relation to a prostitution and human trafficking investigation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, last year.
Charges against Kraft were dropped after the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Monday the state solicitor general would not seek another appeal in the case.
Last month, a state appeals court sided with a lower court decision to throw out video evidence in the case.
Kraft was one of dozens of patrons allegedly caught on secret cameras receiving illicit massages at a West Palm Beach spa in January 2019. A month later, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
His legal team challenged the validity of the search warrant that let authorities install hidden cameras inside the spa, saying it violated Florida law and his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. A Palm Beach County judge agreed in May 2019 and ruled to suppress the video, effectively gutting the criminal case against him.
“The type of law enforcement surveillance utilized in these cases is extreme,” the appellate court ruling said. “While there will be situations which may warrant the use of the techniques at issue, the strict Fourth Amendment safeguards developed over the past few decades must be observed. If they are not, any evidence obtained could very well be declared inadmissible as a matter of constitutional law.”
Aronberg, the prosecutor, said he doesn’t agree with the decision to not move forward with charges in the the Orchids of Asia Day Spa case but he understands it.
“Without these videos, we cannot move forward with our prosecutions. And thus, we are ethically compelled to drop the cases against all of the defendants,” Aronberg said.
Aronberg said two people still face felony charges in the case.
Kraft pleaded not guilty to the charges last year and offered an apology, saying he “hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”
He has been the owner of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots since 1994.