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Patriots owner Robert Kraft requests jury trial in prostitution case

Robert Kraft issues public apology

Patriots owner Robert Kraft waived an upcoming court appearance in his Florida prostitution case, pleaded not guilty to all charges and requested a jury trial, according to a court document filed Tuesday. Kraft was charged in February after allegedly soliciting prostitution at a Jupiter, Florida massage parlor twice on the weekend of the AFC Championship Game.

CBS Boston reported that Kraft previously requested a non-jury trial and was due in court for his arraignment on Thursday. 

Prosecutors had offered Kraft a plea deal, which he rejected. Under the agreement, the charges would have been dropped in exchange for Kraft admitting he would have been found guilty at trial. The West Palm Beach State Attorney recently rejected Kraft's  attorney's request for a protective order over evidence in the case, namely surveillance footage taken by police at the Orchids of Asia Spa. 

"I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard," Kraft said in a public apology on Friday. "The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being."

Kraft has received public support from friends, notably President Trump and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch. Politico reported that Trump, a longtime friend of Kraft's, is still thinking of extending him an invitation to join the New England Patriots when they visit the White House later this year to commemorate their Super Bowl LIII victory.  

"It's very sad. I was very surprised to see it," the president said of the charges against Kraft last month. "He's proclaimed his innocence totally, but I'm very surprised to see it."

After Kraft issued his apology, he received a public show of support from Tisch, a fellow NFL owner. 

"I think what Robert said yesterday very publicly, I think it came from his heart," Tisch said, according to Newsday. "I think he was really addressing his family, his team, his players, his friends and Patriots fans. And, I think, in some ways, 31 other team owners. It's probably very, very tough for him to make those statements."

Krafts next court appearance will be for a case disposition on April 9. 

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