Can the Patriots go just one year without a scandal?
Just a few weeks after their sixth Super Bowl win, Patriots owner Bob Kraft has been charged with prostitution charges. Many football fans (and Patriots critics) probably enjoyed a small snicker at the news, but the penalties are nothing to laugh at. Moreover, they are a reminder that no one is above the law – no matter how famous you are or how much money you have in your bank account.
In this post, we’re going to talk about how the charges came about, how Minnesota handles prostitution offenses, and how you might be able to defend yourself.
Kraft Caught Up in Florida Prostitution Raid
Investigators raided at least eight different “massage parlors” throughout the east coast of Florida. Their first and foremost priority, they said, was identifying victims of human trafficking and ceasing any sort of illegal trafficking activity. This isn’t the first set of raids that has happened throughout the Florida area recently.
In this set of raids, two women were arrested on charges of money laundering, racketeering, and prostitution charges. Over 200 other arrests, including Kraft, were made in the following days.
Most of the people involved in the arrests have been charged with soliciting others to commit prostitution. Kraft was cited as a “regular” at the affected massage parlors, one of which was 20 minutes away from his luxury home in Palm Beach. Investigators have uncovered video surveillance of Kraft attending one of the affected spas. He would allegedly spend up to $79 per hour for illegal activity.
Kraft’s team denies any illegal activity. As with all criminal trials, Kraft will be considered innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the public, he may already be considered guilty. Since the scandal was revealed, the memes, tweets, and jokes have pretty much been nonstop.
President Trump has simply said that the incident involving his good friend is “sad.”
This story is still developing, so keep an eye out for any news relating to the trial and how Kraft may have to pay for his alleged crimes.
Prostitution Laws in Minnesota
Would the story be any different if Kraft had been caught as a regular in Minnesota massage parlors and accused of soliciting prostitution?
Penalties for Soliciting a Prostitute
Soliciting someone to commit prostitution is a misdemeanor if the alleged prostitute is over the age of 18. Penalties for this crime start at a fine of $500, but most defendants won’t look at jail time. Even if they get convicted a second time for soliciting a prostitute, or they solicit a prostitute in public for the first time, the penalties merely increase to:
- At least $1,500 in fines
- 20 hours of community service
Penalties for Working as a Prostitute in Minnesota
The penalties given to a prostitute are far more severe. Adult prostitutes can face misdemeanor charges just for loitering in an area and attempting to get work. If they are caught with a client in a private place, they may face the following penalties:
- Up to 90 days in jail
- $1,000 in fines
If the incident happens in public, the charge becomes a gross misdemeanor. The penalties are increased to:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- $3,000 in fines
Penalties for Soliciting a Minor
Charges and penalties get really serious if the prostitute in question is under the age of 18.
If the prostitute is 16 or 17, the defendant is looking at up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If the prostitute is between 13-15 years old, the defendant is looking at up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
If the prostitute is under the age of 13, the defendant is looking at up to 20 years in prison and $40,000 in fines. The defendant will also have to register as a sex offender.
Defenses to Minnesota Prostitution Charges
Again, Kraft is innocent until he is proven guilty, and he has insisted that he has done nothing illegal. Though he has been ridiculed in the public, Kraft may still walk away from this case without any convictions or penalties. He just needs to provide a solid defense strategy.
Examples of common defense strategies for soliciting a prostitute include:
- Offering an alibi
- Disproving the evidence provided by the prosecution
- Fighting for less serious charges (proving the act was committed in a private place, that the alleged prostitute was over 18, etc.)
- Claiming entrapment or duress
Now, back to that original question: can the Patriots go a full year without a scandal? The answer is something a lot of NFL teams have found themselves saying ever since Tom Brady entered the league: “Wait till next year.”
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).