NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion N Palm Beach CountyJupiter


Woman accused of prostitution at Orchids of Asia Day Spa wants to withdraw appeal, plead guilty

Lei Chen
Posted at 9:22 AM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 19:27:37-05

JUPITER, Fla. — One of four main defendants in the alleged prostitution ring at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter wants to change her plea in the case.

Lei Chen, 44, initially entered a plea of not guilty last April after being charged with one felony count of deriving support from prostitution, and eight misdemeanor counts of offer to commit prostitution.

Orchids of Asia Day Spa is the same massage parlor police claim New England Patriot's owner Robert Kraft visited twice last February.

Kraft faces two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. He denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Chen, along with Hua Zhang, 59, Lei Wang, 40, and Shen Mingbi, 59, all face various felony charges for allegedly working at the day spa in Jupiter. Zhang, Wang, and Mingbi have all pleaded not guilty to their charges.

Chen is the first defendant accused of working at the massage parlor to file a notice that she wants to change her plea.

Kraft's case, along with the four defendants from Orchids of Asia Day Spa and several others defendants charged as johns in the case, all currently sit with the 4th District Court of Appeals.

Chen's motion was also filed with the appellate court. Her attorneys argue in court records that because of the pending appeal, the circuit court does not have jurisdiction to accept her change of plea.

According to the filing, in order "to facilitate that resolution, relinquishment of jurisdiction for a period of 45 days is necessary."

Prosecutors are appealing a judge's ruling handed down last spring which barred the use of secretly recorded video evidence from inside the massage parlor at trial.

Similar rulings were also issued in Martin County and Indian River County.