A new report from ESPN alleges that former president Donald Trump tried to intervene in the Senate's investigation of Spygate, the Patriots' alleged videotaping of the New York Jets' defensive signals in 2007.
According to ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, Trump offered then-U.S. Senator Arlen Specter "a lot of money in Palm Beach" early in 2008 to drop his investigation.
Specter's son, Shanin Specter, also told ESPN that Trump made the offer on behalf of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
"My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft," Shanin Specter told ESPN. "But I'm equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. ... My father said it was Kraft's offer, not someone else's."
A spokesperson for Trump called the allegation of his involvement in Spygate "completely false," while a spokesperson for Kraft also denied the Patriots owner's involvement.
"Mr. Kraft is not aware of any involvement of Trump on this topic and he did not have any other engagement with Specter or his staff," Kraft's spokesperson said.
Kraft and Trump have long had a close relationship that strengthened in 2011, when Trump called Kraft to check in on him following the death of Kraft's wife, Myra.
"Loyalty and friendship trumps politics for me," Kraft said of Trump. "I always remember the people who were good to me in that vulnerable time, and he's in that category."
Specter declined Trump's offer and continued his investigation into the Patriots, so the alleged bribe didn't impact New England's punishment. While Specter eventually dropped his investigation, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots were fined $500,000 and $250,000, respectively, and took away the team's 2008 first-round draft pick.