Here’s what we know about why Robert Kraft doesn’t want to accept the current plea deal

The Patriots owner reportedly doesn't want to admit guilt.

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03:  CEO of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft attends the Super Bowl LIII Pregame at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Robert Kraft at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. –Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Robert Kraft apparently is uninterested in admitting guilt in his prostitution case.

According to multiple reports, the Patriots owner will not accept a plea deal offered to him by Florida prosecutors. The Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday that it had offered to drop the misdemeanor charges for soliciting prostitution against Kraft and 24 other men, if they agreed to perform 100 hours community service, attend a class about the negative effects of prostitution, pay a $5,000 fine per count, and admit they would have been found guilty in court.

According to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, that last part is a “non-starter” for the 77-year-old billionaire.

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Kraft, who has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution and has an arraignment hearing scheduled for next Thursday, has denied engaging in “any illegal activity” since the charges were announced last month.

Shortly after Quinn’s report Tuesday night, the New York Post quoted unnamed sources who said there was “absolutely no way” Kraft would take the deal. While agreeing to admit guilt would ensure that the Patriots owner would not face any jail time, the Post reported that it would also “certainly mean he’d also face some kind of discipline from the NFL” under the league’s personal conduct policy.

“Kraft strongly insists he didn’t do anything wrong, and he isn’t going to take a deal that indicates he did,” one source told the tabloid.

Citing “a source familiar with the case,” CNN also reported Wednesday morning that Kraft would not take the plea deal, which authorities say is a standard offer for first-time offenders. In addition to avoiding punishment from the NFL, Quinn says it’s “personally important” to Kraft to not admit to a crime, “even if he doesn’t dispute basic facts.”

Jack Goldberger, a lawyer representing Kraft in the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon. Kraft has pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

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Police say they have video evidence of the NFL owner paying for and receiving sexual acts from employees at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, on two consecutive days in January. According to Quinn, law enforcement officials expected the “extremely graphic” footage to be released under Florida’s public records law, which could be an incentive for Kraft to take a plea deal.

“If Kraft [and others] reach diversion agreements, the evidence will be sealed,” Quinn tweeted Tuesday night. “Legally, if Kraft keeps up his part of a deal, it’s like it never happened.”

Some legal experts have raised questions about how the surveillance footage was obtained and whether the state’s privacy laws would allow the videos to be publicly released in the event that the case does proceed to trial. Either way, according to Palm Beach County court records, Kraft’s legal team filed a motion Wednesday to suppress the evidence.

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“This is in case there’s no deal reached that would automatically seal it,” Quinn tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The veteran ESPN reporter says Kraft hasn’t necessarily rejected the deal and expects “intense negotiations” between the two sides leading up to the March 28 arraignment hearing.

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