Robert Kraft

AFC East Notes: Pats, Kraft, Jets, Bills, Fins

Although prosecutors are planning to release video of Patriots owner Robert Kraft soliciting sexual acts at a Florida spa, Kraft and his legal team are attempting to stop the publication. Kraft filed a motion to block release of the video, and the judge overseeing the case has indicated the state may not disseminate the video until after a hearing occurs, as T.J. Quinn of ESPN tweets. The women who allegedly own the spa in question also filed a motion to stop the release, and a judge will hear their case on April 29, according to the Boston Globe, meaning the video won’t be issued until then at the earliest.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Earlier today, we learned Demaryius Thomas‘ one-year deal with the Patriots contains a $150K signing bonus and a $1.2MM base salary, and now Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link) has provided more details on the veteran receiver’s pact. Thomas can collect a $150K reporting bonus and a total of $1.406MM in per-game roster bonuses. Additionally, Thomas can also earn $750K for reaching each of the following incentives: 60 catches, 800 yards, 1,000 yards, and 1,200 yards. Clearly, Thomas isn’t a lock to make New England’s roster, but he can bring in up to $6MM by posting an excellent campaign.
  • Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard met with the Jets today, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com lauds Howard’s size (6’2′”, 322) and ability to “explode out of his stance,” but notes potential concerns about Howard’s level of competition in the FCS. Howard, who could be available for New York in either the second or third round, would be in contention to displace Jets tackles Kelvin Beachum and/or Brandon Shell, if not immediately than in the long-term.
  • In an engrossing profile, Bills executive Lake Dawson reveals to Tim Graham of The Athletic that he turned down the Dolphins‘ general manager job in 2014 following conversations with team owner Stephen Ross. “In terms of commitment,” Dawson said, “they weren’t going to give me the time, and they weren’t going to allow me to hire some of the people that I wanted to hire. The owner wanted a fast change.” Things have clearly changed in Miami, as the Dolphins are now embarking on a serious rebuild. Dawson, for his part, interviewed for the Panthers’ GM job earlier this year.

Patriots Notes: Thomas, Kraft, Brady

Demaryius Thomas‘ deal with the Patriots includes a $150K signing bonus and a modest base salary of $1.2MM, a source tells ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The wide receiver will have the chance to earn more through incentives/bonuses, however, bringing his cap number to $2.9MM. Reportedly, Thomas can earn all the way up to $6MM if he checks all the boxes.

The low guarantee and base pay of Thomas’ deal suggests that he’s not quite a lock to make the final roster. This makes sense given Thomas’ lack of serious production in recent years and the Patriots’ tendency to jockey playmakers in the late stages of the offseason.

For now, Thomas will focus on recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in December. The hope is that Thomas will be ready for training camp, but nothing is certain just yet.

Here’s more out of New England:

Extra Points: Kraft, Texans, Panthers

Lawyers for Patriots owner Robert Kraft are making a last-ditch effort to save their client. Kraft is refusing to plead guilty and admit he did anything wrong legally, and the government seems to be using the threat of releasing video footage to try and get him to cooperate. Kraft’s legal team has filed a motion to suppress the video evidence prosecutors have and get it thrown out, according to Travis Andersen and John R. Ellement of The Boston Globe. Kraft’s lawyers are apparently claiming that law enforcement officials used a “fake bomb threat” in order to get inside the spa and install hidden cameras.

It’ll be very interesting to see how the situation plays out legally, as it will likely effect what type of punishment Kraft faces from the league. Kraft released a statement apologizing to fans last month, but isn’t willing to admit guilt legally. It’s likely that he’s maneuvering to try and avoid being suspended by the NFL or facing other harsh punishment, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to pull it off. Obviously, the public release of any video evidence would be highly embarrassing to Kraft and the Patriots, so it’s not shocking he’s fighting it vigorously.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Patriots, a former coach of theirs has found a new home. Jack Easterby, the former Team Development Director/Character Coach of the Patriots, has been hired by the Texans, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Easterby will get the title of Executive Vice President of Team Development in Houston. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is a former Patriots assistant coach and there’s a lot of crossover between the two organizations, so this move isn’t too surprising. Easterby had been with the Patriots for the past six seasons.
  • A lot of AAF players have been signing NFL contracts since the league folded. One player who could get some interest is running back Jhurell Pressley. But Pressley was hit with a setback as he seeks to get back to the NFL, as the league just suspended him two games for a “pending issue,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapsheet doesn’t specify what Pressley did, but says that the issue is why he hadn’t signed yet. Despite the suspension, Rapoport notes that Pressley has two workouts lined up for next week and could be signed soon now that his off-field matters have been resolved.
  • Earlier today, the Jets claimed receiver/returner Quadree Henderson off waivers from the Giants. New York apparently had competition for Henderson’s services, as the Panthers also put in a claim for the return specialist, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Carolina didn’t have a consistent returner last year and instead rotated a string of players, so their interest makes a lot of sense. Henderson was one of the best returners in the nation during his college days at Pittsburgh, and has a good shot to earn the job in New York as the Jets just lost All-Pro returner Andre Roberts in free agency.
  • The Packers cut inside linebacker Antonio Morrison last month, and now we have more clarity on why. A week before his release, Morrison was cited for interfering with a flight, according to Michael Cohen of The Athletic. Morrison, who was traded from the Colts to the Packers before last season, was removed from the flight for “exhibiting hostile behavior” toward a member of the crew, and fined by police. Morrison played in all 16 games for the Packers and started eight of them last season, so his sudden release was somewhat surprising. It’s unclear if the incident actually led to his release, but it’s notable. It was minor enough that he probably won’t face discipline from the league. We haven’t heard of any interest on the open market since his release. He received average marks from Pro Football Focus last year, grading out as their 74th-best linebacker.

Latest On Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

Lawyers for Robert Kraft are taking steps to keep surveillance video allegedly showing the Patriots owner engaging in sexual activity out of court, as Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz writes. Kraft’s attorneys are also looking to attack the traffic stop that occurred outside of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. 

[RELATED: Bill Belichick Could Become Patriots DC]

Kraft’s lawyers will argue that the video, which was filmed without Kraft’s knowledge or consent, violated legal standards. And, if the traffic stop is also effectively whitewashed, there won’t be much of a case for Florida prosecutors to make.

Recently, Kraft rejected a plea deal that would have called for him to admit that he would have been found guilty in a court setting. Meanwhile, the NFL is keeping a watchful eye on the case. This week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the league’s personal conduct policy will apply to Kraft just as it applies to players.

Goodell stopped short of declaring Kraft will be suspended, but that remains a possibility for the billionaire owner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Mayo, Kraft, Bills, Fins

Longtime Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will return to the club as linebackers coach, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. Mayo, 33, retired at the conclusion of the 2015 campaign, and expressed no interest in coaching at the time. Viewed as a cerebral player with a strong work ethic, Mayo appeared in 93 games for New England after being selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft. He’ll be replacing Brian Flores, who was not only the Patriots’ LBs coach but de facto defensive coordinator before taking the Dolphins’ head coaching position this offseason.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane denied that Buffalo was ever close to acquiring wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. “We had productive talks with [GM] Kevin Colbert, with Pittsburgh, but one of the things I made clear with Kevin early on is we would have to be comfortable with where the compensation is going to have to be with AB’s representatives, and that was never something that we were even close on,” Beane said. Brown, of course, was subsequently traded to the Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks, and received a new contract with additional guarantees.
  • The NFL’s personal conduct policy will apply to Patriots owner Robert Kraft just as it applies to players, commissioner Roger Goodell told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Goodell stopped short of declaring Kraft will be suspended, indicating a need for all the facts of Kraft’s solicitation case to come out. Kraft has rejected a plea deal from Florida prosecutors, and earlier this week pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanors.
  • Although the Dolphins haven’t publicly declared how they’ll use former first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2019, sources tell Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Dolphins prefer to deploy Fitzpatrick as a safety. Fitzpatrick, the 11th overall selection in last year’s draft, can play both cornerback and safety, but Miami already has two safeties — Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald in place. If Fitzpatrick is deployed more in the back end, McDonald could conceivably see action as a sub-package linebacker.

Robert Kraft Pleads Not Guilty

On Tuesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution. Kraft has denied engaging in any illegal activity and recently turned down a proposed plea agreement that called for him to admit that he would have been found guilty in trial

Florida authorities say they have hidden camera footage showing Kraft receiving sex acts from women working at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The footage, they say, also shows Kraft handing the women cash after the acts.

The sting, purported to be an undercover operation against human trafficking, has yet to yield any charges of human trafficking. Instead, authorities nabbed Kraft and 24 other accused Johns.

Recently, Kraft issued a statement on the case, though he did not explicitly admit any wrongdoing in his apology.

“I am truly sorry,” Kraft said in the statement. “I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard. Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

On Saturday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft released his first statement since being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets

“I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard. Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”

Documents released by the Palm Beach Attorney’s Office indicate Kraft visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa twice in a 24-hour span, and on Jan. 20 was videotaped receiving “oral and manual sex” from a woman at the Jupiter, Fla., Spa. According to officials, Kraft gave the woman a $100 bill and another bill before leaving. He flew to Kansas City shortly after this alleged act, being in attendance for the Patriots-Chiefs game later that day.

Earlier this week, the Patriots owner rejected a plea deal that would have had Kraft admit that he would’ve been found guilty had the case gone to court. Kraft and his lawyers have denied any wrongdoing at every step so far, and his lawyer William Buck has stated that he believes the video evidence violates the fourth amendment, according to the New York Post’s Emily Smith.

“We’ve looked at…the law around the warrant for the video surveillance inside the spa, and we think it is a violation of the fourth amendment. We also believe the traffic stop [made by police as the men left the spa] was illegal and a violation of the constitution.”

Also this week, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder believes the video evidence will eventually be made public, NBC Sports’ Darren Hartwell writes.

“Once a case is over, it’s not an ongoing investigation,” Snyder said. “There has to be a specific reason not to release a public record. And the fact that there is sexual activity is not an exemption.”

Kraft’s court date is set for March 28. Before he appears, however, he is expected to be in attendance at the NFL’s owner meetings, which begin Sunday.

 

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Robert Kraft To Reject Plea Deal

This week, Florida prosecutors presented Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others implicated in the now famous sex sting with a plea deal. Kraft, however, will not accept the plea, according to CNN

Kraft, 77, has been accused of twice visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Authorities say they have video footage of him receiving “paid acts,” which would represent clear evidence of solicitation. However, the Patriots owner maintains his innocence, and the proposed plea deal would require Kraft to admit that he would have been proven guilty if the case went to trial. Soon after the story broke, Kraft’s camp indicated that he would not be admitting fault:

We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Kraft has also filed a motion to prevent the release of the surveillance video, according to TMZ. For now, Kraft is set for a March 28 arraignment. He is being charged with second-degree misdemeanors, which generally do not carry more than a two-month sentence in county jail.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

Florida prosecutors offered a plea deal to Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men charged with a recent sex sting operation, as Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal writes. However, the proposal calls for Kraft and 24 others to admit they would have been proven guilty at trial. Based on the statement put out by Kraft at the outset of the scandal, it’s far from a given that he’ll agree to those terms. 

Also, as a part of the proposed agreement, Kraft would have to complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, and undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Prosecutors say this is the standard diversion program offered to first-time offenders in such matters.

The state attorney’s office says none of the 25 men in question have accepted the agreement just yet. Meanwhile, Kraft’s attorney has yet to comment on the agreement proposed by authorities.

As it stands, Kraft is set for an April 24 court date – one day before the start of the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Kraft can opt to simply have his attorney appear on his behalf.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Robert Kraft Pleads Not Guilty

Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution, as John R. Ellement of The Boston Globe writes. Kraft, of course, was charged last week in a connection with a human trafficking sting in Florida

[RELATED: Kraft Court Date Set For April 24]

Authorities say they have captured Kraft on film inside of the “spa,” so it may be tricky for Kraft to mount a proper defense if things wind up in court. The non guilty plea may also prolong the legal process, but Kraft is apparently set on clearing his name.

Per NFL policy, Kraft may be subject to league discipline, depending on how things play out from here. For example, Colts owner Jim Irsay received a six-game suspension and a $500K fine in 2014 after he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated.

Our personal conduct policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” said the league in a statement last week. “We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.