Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg came out swinging in his press conference Monday afternoon.
"This isn't about lonely old men or victimless crimes," he said.
What he was referencing were the prostitution-related charges facing 25 individuals based on the Jupiter, Fla., Police Department's investigation into criminal activity occurring at Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which began in October.
The highest-profile name involved is that of Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who was placed at that location on two separate occasions, including the morning of Jan. 20, hours ahead of the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.
This document places Kraft at the parlor the morning of the AFC title game. https://t.co/phhVmwhQej— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 25, 2019
Aronberg indicated that the individuals involved will be charged with first-degree misdemeanors of soliciting prostitution. A first-degree conviction would result in a mandatory 100 hours of community service, a $5,000 fine and a course intended to educate on the dangers of human trafficking. A conviction could result in a maximum of a year in jail time.
Aronberg said that diversion programs are "available."
"There are diversion programs available, there are classes available," he said. "Just because the mandatory penalty is up to a year in jail doesn't mean someone is going to get that."
With a diversion, there is no plea from the accused. A Deferred Prosecution Agreement would be signed, and the state would defer prosecution. So long as the accused accomplished that which was agreed upon with the state, the expectation is that the case would be dismissed.
The Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy spoke to Palm Beach County attorney Steven Bell, who explained the diversion program process, and how common those are in cases like these, though Bell explained that the human trafficking element could impact the likelihood that the state would be willing to defer prosecution.
Kraft is being considered a resident of the state of Florida because he holds a residence there. His attorney has been issued a summons and will not have to make a public court appearance, Aronberg explained.
Aronberg was asked several questions about Kraft but did not get into the specifics of his case.
Aronberg did make several comments to highlight how strongly he feels about providing preferential treatment for those with means. This is a case, Aronberg frequently pointed out, that deals with the broader issue of human trafficking.
"Our office treats everyone the same," he said, "whether you have a lot of money or are indigent . . . This isn't about lonely old men or victimless crimes."
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On the subject of any "bigger" names that might be involved in some way shape or form in this case, Aronberg said, "that would be news to me." ESPN reported on Friday that there was a name more noteworthy than Kraft's that was somehow involved.
"Hard for me to talk about rumors," Aronberg said, "especially false ones."
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