Recent news headlines have been abuzz with stories of Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, being charged with soliciting prostitution. To try to shut down a prosecution backed by social pressures to secure a conviction, the football mogul has recruited William Burck, the same lawyer who served under George W. Bush in the White House. With such a bold defensive move being made by Kraft, does it mean he really should be worried about being convicted of soliciting prostitution, which has been filed as a first-degree misdemeanor?
The New York Times recently interviewed Attorney Eric Matheny of The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A. in Miami-Dade County to find out. Within the interview, Attorney Matheny claimed the state attorneys would likely “play hardball” with Kraft and his lawyers mainly for the sake of keeping up a public appearance. If there is any speculation that Kraft is being treated differently due to his celebrity status, then it could jeopardize the validity of the case in the public’s eyes.
With that said, Attorney Matheny believes there is probably not much chance of the charges placing Kraft in deep trouble with the law. If convicted, Kraft could be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail, 100 hours of community service, and $5,000 in fines paid to the state. However, since he is not supposed to be treated any differently than any other defendant, it is expected that Kraft would be offered lessened sentencing as a first time offender. Kraft has pleaded not guilty, though, and will likely be fighting for an outright dismissal of the charges.
How Can Kraft’s Charges Be Dismissed?
Robert Kraft is one of many people who have been accused of soliciting prostitution in a massage parlor called Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. Much of the supposed evidence against him has been collected through legally questionable means. For example, he was asked to provide identification en route to the day spa during a police traffic stop, despite being the passenger of the vehicle. There were also police-installed security cameras in the facility, but it is not known what was ever recorded. It is known that the cameras cannot record audio.
Attorney Matheny told The New York Times that video evidence is often not enough in solicitation of prostitution cases. The details of what is actually said between both parties is absolutely crucial in proving criminal intent. Even if there is video evidence of Kraft engaging in sexual conduct with a masseuse at the day spa, there would still be a heavy cloud of doubt over what was said or agreed upon leading up to that point. As with any criminal case, the evidential burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt, not on the defense to prove innocence.