Robert Kraft Apologizes in First Public Comments About Prostitution Case

fFor the first time since he was charged last month with two counts of soliciting prostitution in Jupiter, Fla., Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, commented publicly on the matter, apologizing in vague terms.

“I am truly sorry,” Kraft said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. “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.”

Kraft continued by mentioning his wife of nearly 50 years, Myra Kraft, who died in 2011 of ovarian cancer. “Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing,” he said. “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.”

Kraft was charged with the two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution last month, after the police said he twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa and solicited sexual services. In the immediate aftermath, a spokesman for Kraft denied he had done anything illegal, and he has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Kraft has kept a low profile, but friends say he is tormented by what he has done.

His statement came the day before N.F.L. owners were to begin arriving at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix for the league’s annual meeting, where owners and N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell are sure to be peppered with questions about Kraft.

As the owners meet, Kraft’s legal case will continue. Prosecutors in Florida have offered Kraft, and the 24 other men who were similarly accused, a deal that would entail dropping the charges in exchange for a fine, community service and, crucially, admitting that if the case were to go to trial, prosecutors would win.

So far, Kraft has declined to accept the deal. He has hired some of the top lawyers in the country, who have argued that the police mishandled the case and asked that evidence in the case be kept private.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned in court on March 28, though he is not required to be present. He could also be subject to discipline from the N.F.L., which has wide latitude to punish anyone, including owners, for conduct detrimental to the league, even if he is not convicted of a crime.

Email Kevin Draper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @kevinmdraper.

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