WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Misdemeanor prostitution charges were dropped Thursday against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and 24 other defendants linked to a spa sex sting in Jupiter.
The charges stemmed from a police investigation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter conducted in 2019.
Jupiter police claimed Kraft visited the now-defunct spa twice in January 2019, including the morning of the AFC Championship game.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg held a virtual news conference regarding the case.
The investigation led to the arrests of several men and women, including misdemeanor charges against Kraft.
Aronberg said charges were dropped against all 25 defendants accused of misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution.
"It is not a lack of will that caused us to drop the charges in the spa cases," Aronberg said.
There are still pending felony charges against the owner and manager of the spa.
Earlier this week, the Florida Attorney General's office announced that it won't appeal a court decision blocking video that allegedly showed Kraft paying for sex at the massage parlor.
A Florida appeals court ruled in August that police violated Kraft's rights and others when they secretly video recorded them paying for massage parlor sex acts.
The state attorney called the appellate court's decision "disappointing."
"The Orchids of Asia Day Spa was a notorious brothel in a family shopping center, right next to a game room that attracted children," Aronberg said.
Secret video recordings allegedly captured a woman at the spa performing a sex act on Kraft and him paying in cash, according to police.
"Without these videos, we cannot move forward with our prosecutions, and thus we are ethically compelled to drop the cases against all the defendants," Aronberg said. "Despite the setback today, our office will continue our work to make our community safer by holding accountable those who engage in criminal activity including sex crimes."
The state attorney said he disagreed with the ruling that threw out the video evidence for all 25 defendants.
"The Jupiter Police Department did the right thing in pursuing the investigation," Aronberg said. "I stand behind the decision to file the cases."
Aronberg said four other individuals, besides Kraft, were recorded and received legitimate non-sexual massages. Two of those four were women, and the court said that the police should have never recorded the women, and thus every other video must be discarded.
The state attorney said they could not prove human trafficking without a reasonable doubt, but there was evidence of human trafficking "in the overall investigation."
None of the defendants charged with soliciting prostitution were ever accused of human trafficking.
Kraft's attorneys want the video destroyed.
Jupiter police said Kraft made two visits to the spa in January 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.