Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty to prostitution charges
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Patriots owner Kraft pleads not guilty to prostitution charges

Genesis Prize says it will still award so-called Jewish Nobel to philanthropist, despite prosecution related to Florida massage parlor visits

Robert Kraft, philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots, winner of the 2019 Genesis Prize. (Genesis Prize Foundation)
Robert Kraft, philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots, winner of the 2019 Genesis Prize. (Genesis Prize Foundation)

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty on Monday to two charges of soliciting prostitution, according to court records released Thursday.

On Friday, police in Florida announced that Kraft was one of some 100 men caught up in raids on massage parlors in Martin County. The charges concern visits by Kraft to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in the city of Jupiter, near where he keeps a home. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr told WPTV that there is video evidence of all the men who are being charged.

Kraft, with a net worth of $6.6 billion, is the 79th richest American, according to Forbes. He is the chairman and CEO of Kraft Group, a holding company with assets in sports, manufacturing and real estate development.

The Patriots, winner of this year’s Super Bowl, are among the most successful franchises in professional sports.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, left, lifts the trophy beside son and team president Jonathan Kraft, right, after winning the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots won 13-3. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Kraft, who grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in Brookline, Massachusetts, was recently named the winner of the $1 million Genesis Prize, the so-called Jewish Nobel, for having “spoken out publicly and donated generously to organizations combating prejudices, including anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

On Thursday, the prize said it was giving Kraft the award despite the allegations.

Genesis Prize Foundation chairman and co-founder Stan Polovets also called the allegation “unfortunate” in an interview in the Jerusalem Post “written in cooperation with the Genesis Prize.”

Polovets said the prize ceremony will take place as scheduled on June 20 in Jerusalem, with actor Martin Short serving as host.

Over decades, the Kraft family has given more than half a billion dollars to causes including health care, education, the Jewish community, Christian organizations and local needs.

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