Patriots

Kraft defense includes high-profile attorney with local ties who has represented Jay-Z, Edelman

Kraft defense includes high-profile attorney with local ties who has represented Jay-Z, Edelman

Robert Kraft has some of the country's most in-demand attorneys on his side as he faces charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida.

In a Palm Beach County court filing last week, attorney Alex Spiro was identified as having been retained as counsel for Kraft. The New York-based attorney has established himself as a go-to option for big-name clients, including Jay-Z, Mick Jagger, DeMarcus Cousins, Charles Oakley, Thabo Sefolosha, Julian Edelman and Aaron Hernandez.

In the Feb. 26 court filing where Kraft pleaded not guilty to all charges and requested a non-jury trial, Spiro and William Burck, partners at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, were named as having been retained by Kraft. Burck is co-managing partner of Quinn Emmanuel's Washington, D.C. office and was a lawyer in the George W. Bush White House. High-powered Florida defense attorney Jack Goldberger has also been hired by Kraft.

Spiro, 36, has plenty of New England ties as well as Patriots-specific ties.

He's a graduate of Wellesley High School (2001), Tufts University (2005) and Harvard Law School (2008). A psychology major at Tufts, he worked at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., for five years, according to his resume on Quinn Emanuel's website. He's also recognized as a lecturer at Harvard Law.

Hired by Edelman when Edelman appealed of his four-game suspension last year, Spiro was also a member of Hernandez's defense team in Hernandez's double-homicide trial.

Spiro focuses largely on "white collar" crime, according to Quinn Emanuel, but he represents a variety of clients. One case that effectively raised Spiro's profile was when he helped Sefolosha -- now of the Jazz, then of the Hawks -- to be found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from an incident in 2015. Sefolosha eventually received $4 million from New York City in a settlement. 

Prior to joining Quinn Emanuel, which opened a Boston office a little over a year ago, Spiro worked as a trial attorney with Benjamin Brafman. Before that, as a Manhattan prosecutor, Spiro helped indict and convict Rodney Alcala, the "Dating Game" killer.

The New York Times pointed out earlier this week that Kraft's attorneys "could mount an aggressive defense by poking holes in video evidence that may prove that Mr. Kraft did not ask anyone for sex and by arguing that the police violated Mr. Kraft's Fourth Amendment rights during an improper traffic stop, among other arguments."

Sports Illustrated legal expert Michael McCann has written that while the maximum sentence facing Kraft includes up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service, the Patriots owner is unlikely to spend any time in jail. "Kraft's legal issues," McCann writes, "might prove resolvable through Florida's pretrial misdemeanor diversion program," which offers first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to pay a fine and perform community service in order to have charges dismissed.

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Patriots QB Tom Brady 'never would have imagined' playing 20 NFL seasons

Patriots QB Tom Brady 'never would have imagined' playing 20 NFL seasons

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has accomplished so much in his NFL career, and the six Super Bowl rings he owns probably are his greatest achievement. Given the physical nature of pro football, and how hard it is to play for five, 10 or even 15 seasons, Brady's longevity should also go down as one of the most impressive bullet points on his Hall of Fame resumé.

Brady is in the midst of his 20th (!) NFL season. He's still one of the league's top-tier quarterbacks, too. The 42-year-old veteran has completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,743 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions to help New England start the season 6-0 for the first time since 2015.

When you watch Brady play in 2019, it's clear he still loves the game very much.

"I love playing football, so those three hours and being on the practice field, I really love," Brady said Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "To play 20 years in the NFL, I mean, I never would have imagined, and I'm sure nobody else would have ever imagined that. I love being out there. Every year has its challenges. To get to go play on 'Thursday Night Football', 'Monday Night Football' -- we've got a Sunday night game coming up -- when you're the only team playing, it's always a great feeling. 

"Again, it's been -- to just play a sport I dreamed of playing has been a dream come true. And everyone always asks, 'What are you going to do when you're done? What are you going to do when you're done?' The reality is that I never thought of doing anything else. I never had to think about doing anything else. I've just thought about playing football. Part of it was being very naive that, 'Oh man, I'm going to make a roster and I'm going to play for as long as I want to play.' My life has had a very weird way of working out that way. 

"I'm going to keep going and keep trying to be the best I could be for my team, and try to play at a championship level. Just continue to have fun and support my teammates and do my job as best as I possibly can."

Brady has talked in the past about playing into his mid-40s, and with he and the Patriots continuing to perform at a high level, there's no reason for him to leave the game barring some sort of injury.

The veteran QB still has things to accomplish despite all the success he's enjoyed. Brady has a few records in his sights, including Drew Brees' record for the most career passing yards, and Peyton Manning's mark for the most career passing touchdowns. Brady needs just 13 touchdown passes to claim Manning's record, so we should see that one broken later this season. Another Super Bowl title for the Patriots would be their seventh in team history and set a record for the most championships in the Super Bowl era.

Brady always has done a great job motivating himself, even after winning so many individual awards and championships, and you can bet that competitive fire will burn brightly all the way until the end of his career.

Darrelle Revis praises Tom Brady as 'the ultimate competitor'>>>

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Why have Patriots started fast in 2019? Tom Brady gives fitting answer

Why have Patriots started fast in 2019? Tom Brady gives fitting answer

The New England Patriots have not won fewer than 11 games in any season this decade, and that trend is very unlikely to end in 2019.

The defending Super Bowl champions are 6-0 entering their Week 7 road game against the rival New York Jets on "Monday Night Football." New England is undefeated at this juncture of the season for the first time since 2015.

The Patriots have struggled to start fast several times in recent seasons. Here's a look at the their record through the first four games of the last eight campaigns (including 2019):

2019: 4-0
2018: 2-2
2017: 2-2
2016: 3-1
2015: 4-0
2014: 2-2
2013: 4-0
2012: 2-2

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked Wednesday during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio if there's anything different about the team this season that's leading to the fast start. 

"Our defense has given us, I think, that ability (to start fast this season), because the way they've been playing," Brady said. "They've been playing that way all the way back into the spring. They're just doing a great job. They have a lot of great continuity. The secondary -- look how long they've played together. The group of linebackers -- look how long they've played together. What they're doing to get to the quarterback, and they have such a good mix of players who can rush and cover.

"We've been gettng ahead of teams. Our defense has really been thriving -- leading the league in turnovers, leading the league in sacks, what they've been doing on third downs has been incredible. I think they've just been playing so spectacular that it's given our team a huge boost."

The Patriots defense is off to a historic start. The unit has allowed the fewest points per game (8.0) and yards per game (234.7) of any team through the first six weeks. The pass rush also has been tremendous, and as Brady noted, the defense leads the league in sacks and turnovers (including a league-high 14 interceptions). The Patriots' point differential of plus-142 is the best in the league, and well ahead of the San Francisco 49ers (plus-83) in second place.

New England's fast start has allowed it to build an early lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots fell short of this goal last season, even though it ultimately didn't matter after they beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in the AFC Championship Game. But the Patriots should absolutely chase that seed this season because they are almost unbeatable at home. In fact, they've won 19 consecutive games at Gillette Stadium, including the playoffs.

The Patriots' fast start in 2019 should go a long way in ensuring the road to Super Bowl LIV in Miami goes down Route 1 in Foxboro. 

Phillip Dorsett gives encouraging update on his Week 7 status>>>

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