(Reuters) – Robert Kraft, the owner of the NFL Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, was charged with two counts of soliciting a prostitute in Jupiter, Florida, in a police sting on a massage parlor, police said on Friday. Kraft, 77, is among more than two dozen people charged, police said at a news conference.
Two proprietors of Orchids of Asia Day Spa were arrested on Tuesday along with 25 people in the local and state investigation, which was focused on possible human trafficking, Jupiter police Chief Robert Kerr said.
Authorities have gathered video evidence to support the charges for each person, Kerr said. Kraft is accused of visiting the business on two separate occasions to solicit sex.
Since Kraft bought the Patriots 25 years ago, the team has become the most successful franchise in the National Football League, appearing in 10 Super Bowls and winning six titles, including Super Bowl LIII earlier this month.
Spokesmen for the National Football League and the Patriots did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kraft’s influence in the football world has grown steadily since he purchased the Patriots, to the point that he is widely considered one of the NFL’s most powerful and influential owners.
Kraft, a Democrat, is nevertheless a close friend and supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican. Before this month’s Super Bowl, Trump said on “Face the Nation” that he would be backing his longtime friend Kraft to win.
In 1994, Kraft, a Boston native, bought the Patriots for $172 million, considered a lofty sum for a team that had been mired in mediocrity for years.
The team is now worth nearly $4 billion, thanks in large part to its extraordinary success on the field under the leadership of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
Kraft, who made his fortune buying out and building up his father-in-law’s product-packaging business, is worth $6.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; additional reporting by Jonathan Allen, Letitia Stein and Peter Szekely; editing by Grant McCool)