NFL: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleads not guilty to soliciting prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Photo credit: Reuters.

New England Patriots Robert Kraft has pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida, where police said he was captured on video engaging in sex acts at a massage parlour.

The court documents, which were filed on Tuesday in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in Palm Beach County, Florida, showed that Kraft's lawyers also requested a non-jury trial.

The 77-year-old billionaire businessman, whose Super Bowl-winning Patriots have become the NFL's most dominant franchise, was swept up in a police sting last week that targeted sex-trafficking in day spas and massage parlours in several Florida counties.

The operation has led to hundreds being charged.

"We categorically deny that Mr Kraft engaged in any illegal activity," Aaron Salkin, a spokesman for Kraft and the Patriots, said in a statement. "Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further." 

On February 22, Kraft was charged with two misdemeanors, after police accused him of visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two separate occasions to solicit sex. Kraft lives in Massachusetts, but owns property in Palm Beach, Florida.

Authorities acquired video evidence depicting the acts in question, after installing hidden cameras inside of the spa, police officials said.

Kraft could face discipline under the league's personal conduct policy, which applies to team owners and prohibits "conduct detrimental to the integrity" of the NFL.