New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was a no-show at a gala benefit in which he was to be honored by the Navy SEALS Foundation benefit on Thursday evening in New York City. Kraft, 77, who faces misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped at a Florida massage parlor in the act of purchasing oral sex has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Edited by: JV Staff
On February 22, it was reported that the charges against Kraft comes amid a crackdown on sex trafficking from Palm Beach to Orlando in which police planted cameras in massage parlors.
Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of a six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges.
Sources told Page Six of the NY Post that Kraft has been originally selected to be honored with the prestigious Patriot Award at the Times Square venue for the dinner. Page Six.
Several days subsequent to this arrest, Kraft’s name was omitted from the foundation’s website, according to the Page Six report. An unnamed source close to the case told Page Six that it was Kraft himself who requested that he not be given an honor at the dinner. The source said, “Robert didn’t want to draw away from the great and tireless work that the foundation does, so he decided it was best to pull out of the event.” The source added, “He’s been a great supporter of the foundation and has helped raise and donated over a million dollars to the foundation.”
Filling in for Kraft at the Navy SEALS benefit was former Defense Secretary Jim (Mad Dog) Mattis. A source at the dinner told Page Six that, “The Navy SEALs are the ones who are trying to prevent female trafficking. Jim gave a great speech — with no mention of Bob.”
Also attending the dinner was former Marine and recent Oscar nominee Adam Driver, according to the Page Six report. Joining Driver was his wife, Joanne Tucker. He along with John Krasinski — who was not there — donated $100,000 to the foundation, according to the report. The event raised over $9 million for the Navy SEALS.
According to an AP report, Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. Though he is a Democrat, he is friendly with President Donald Trump and a frequent guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Kraft’s wife, Myra Hiatt Kraft, died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.
“Well it’s very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He’s proclaimed his innocence, totally,” Trump said at the White House following Kraft’s arrest. “But I’m very surprised to see it.”
In a statement, Kraft’s representatives said they “categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”
The spa Kraft allegedly visited is in a busy, upper-middle-class shopping center with neighbors that include a dentist, a real estate office, surf and bike shops and a Publix supermarket.
On Friday, CNN reported that a Florida woman who once owned the day spa where Kraft allegedly solicited sexual acts watched the Super Bowl with President Trump, only days before Kraft was arrested. The Miami Herald was the first to report this
According to the Miami Herald, Li Yang, who goes by Cindy, no longer owns the Orchids of Asia Day Spa where Kraft is alleged to have paid for oral sex, but her family still owns several South Florida spas. Yang posted a selfie with Trump at his West Palm Beach golf club on February 3 at a Super Bowl watch party.
“We love our president,” the caption read.
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