Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution in Jupiter, Fla.Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution
Authorities announced Feb. 22 that Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has been charged with solicitation as part of a Florida prostitution bust. (Reuters)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with solicitation of prostitution Friday in connection with an investigation of a day spa in Florida suspected of involvement in human trafficking.
The 77-year-old billionaire and owner of one of the most successful sports franchises in the world was videotaped engaging in a sex act with an employee at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., police there said at a news conference Friday. Kraft had been driven to the spa, police said.
It did not appear Friday that Kraft was in police custody. The two prostitution-related charges he faces are misdemeanors, police said.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” a spokesperson for Kraft said in a written statement. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
The NFL said in a written statement that the league “is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
The charges against Kraft stemmed from a months-long investigation of several massage parlors in southeast Florida suspected of forcing immigrant employees to engage in sex acts with customers. His name was among 25 men facing prostitution-related charges released by police Friday.
Kraft eventually could face discipline by the league under its personal conduct policy. Owners are subject to the policy.
In 2014, Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 by the league under the personal conduct policy. Irsay had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated after being arrested following a traffic stop. He told a judge that he was under the influence of painkillers when the traffic stop occurred.
The NFL more commonly applies the personal conduct policy to cases of wrongdoing involving players, and in those instances, the league generally waits for the legal process to play out first. It did the same thing in Irsay’s case. But the policy also empowers the league to impose discipline, if it believes that is warranted, in cases without a criminal conviction or even without criminal charges.
The league investigated former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson after allegations of workplace misconduct involving Richardson were reported in December 2017. But soon after the accusations became public, Richardson announced he would sell the franchise. He sold the team last year to hedge fund billionaire David Tepper for an estimated $2.2 billion.
Kraft long has been one of the league’s most influential and successful owners. He has overseen the NFL’s most prosperous on-field dynasty of an era in which free agency for players and a salary cap limiting teams’ spending on their rosters generally has maintained competitive balance. The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month in Atlanta for their sixth Super Bowl title with Kraft as their owner, Bill Belichick as their coach and Tom Brady as their quarterback.
The Patriots also have become a financial powerhouse during Kraft’s ownership tenure, with a value estimated at $3.8 billion by Forbes.
Kraft has been credited by industry observers with allowing Belichick the freedom to make football-related decisions without undue influence. But he also has been active in maintaining a productive working environment. When there was speculation in recent years that the relationship between Belichick and Brady had become strained, Kraft said repeatedly that all such business pairings had their ups and downs but he would do what he could to keep the Patriots’ dynasty intact as long as possible.
Kraft also is viewed as a behind-the-scenes power broker among owners. He was active in settling the labor dispute by which owners locked out the players before their last labor deal in 2011. Kraft once was considered extremely close to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, so much so that some in and around the sport called him akin to being the deputy commissioner.
That relationship was tested when Goodell suspended Brady for four games and punished the Patriots in the infamous Deflategate scandal, in which the team was accused of using improperly underinflated footballs. Brady and the NFL Players Association took the league to federal court over Brady’s punishment, which eventually was enforced in full. But Kraft opted against suing the league and fellow owners, reinforcing his reputation as an owner with the NFL’s interests at heart. Kraft and Goodell have continued to work closely on league-related matters since then.
A Boston-area native, Kraft has built his fortune in paper and packaging, real estate development and sports and entertainment. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls since he purchased the team in 1994. His wife, Myra, died of cancer in 2011.
Patriots owner Kraft gives Trump jersey
New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft gifted a jersey to President Trump at the White House on April 19. (Reuters)
R. Kelly Charged With Sexual Abuse in ChicagoThe R&B singer R. Kelly has faced accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades.CreditFrank Micelotta/Invision, via Associated PressImageThe R&B singer R. Kelly has faced accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades.CreditCreditFrank Micelotta/Invision, via Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2019
The R&B singer R. Kelly was charged on Friday in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with four victims, according to Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx.
Mr. Kelly, who has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for two decades, has been under renewed scrutiny since the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” was broadcast on Lifetime in January.
The celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti said last week that he had obtained a video showing Mr. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, and given it to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago. He has said that Mr. Kelly and the girl refer to her age multiple times in the video, which is more than 40 minutes long.
On Thursday, two additional women came forward at a news conference in New York organized by their lawyer, Gloria Allred, to accuse Mr. Kelly of sexual abuse and misconduct when they were minors. The women, Latresa Scaff, 40, and Rochelle Washington, 39, said they met the singer after a concert in the mid-1990s when they were 16 and 15; they said he asked for a threesome and had sex with Ms. Scaff.
Video00:000:170:17R. Kelly Charged With Sexual AbuseKim Foxx, Cook County state’s attorney, said R. Kelly, the R&B singer, was charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.CreditCreditKiichiro Sato/Associated Press
Steven Greenberg, Mr. Kelly’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he has said that Mr. Kelly “denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever.” Aggravated criminal sexual abuse can carry a sentence of three to seven years in prison.
Mr. Kelly, 52, has never been convicted of a crime, but he has faced accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse for years. More than 20 years ago, Vibe magazine questioned a marriage certificate that said the singer Aaliyah was 18 when she and Mr. Kelly were wed. She was, in fact, 15 at the time and the marriage was annulled. Mr. Greenberg has said Mr. Kelly did not know she was underage at the time. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.
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The following year, Mr. Kelly was arrested on child pornography charges, over a tape prosecutors said showed him having sex with and urinating on an underage girl. After six years of delays, Mr. Kelly was acquitted in 2008 on all 14 charges against him. The girl from the video never testified, and Mr. Kelly’s lawyers argued that her identity could not be proven.
In 2017, the music journalist Jim DeRogatis wrote articles for BuzzFeed that described Mr. Kelly keeping women in a “cult,” in which he separated them from their families and exerted tremendous control over their lives.
After so many years in which Mr. Kelly seemed impervious to the accusations against him, things seemed to take a turn in January, after “Surviving R. Kelly” caused a stir. Law enforcement authorities in Illinois and Georgia, where he has lived, began looking into his conduct. And after tremendous public pressure from activists, Mr. Kelly was dropped by his label, RCA, just two weeks after the program aired.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington on April 17, 2018.Win McNamee / Getty Images fileFeb. 22, 2019, 1:18 PM ESTBy Dareh Gregorian
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the administration is "looking into" Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's role in securing a lenient plea deal for politically connected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that a judge said was illegally concealed from his dozens of victims.
"My understanding is it is a very complicated case, certainly something we're looking into," Sanders told reporters a day after a federal judge in Florida ruled that prosecutors, led by Acosta, had broken the law by signing a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein without notifying his sex abuse victims.
Sanders said she believed prosecutors "made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at the time, but again, that's something we're looking into." Asked if President Donald Trump still had confidence in Acosta, Sanders said, "We're looking into the matter but I'm not aware of any changes."
Jeffrey Epstein case: Judge rules federal prosecutors broke lawFEB. 22, 201901:48
Asked directly by reporters later in the day if he had any "concerns" about Acosta, Trump said, "I don't know much about it. He's done a great job as labor secretary. That seems like a long time ago."
Epstein, 66, reached a nonprosecution deal in 2008 with then-Miami U.S. Attorney Acosta's office to halt a federal sex abuse investigation involving dozens of teenage girls in return for him pleading guilty to state charges involving a single victim, paying financial settlements to other victims and becoming a registered sex offender.
The wealthy financier, who'd been friends with the likes of Trump and Bill Clinton, wound up serving 13 months in a Palm Beach jail, where he was allowed to leave almost daily through a work-release program and to have his own private security detail. Had he been convicted of the charges in the shelved federal complaint, he could have faced up to life behind bars.
Acosta was actively involved in the negotiations, according to documents that were introduced into evidence in a lawsuit by two victims who said their rights were violated. That included an email between Acosta and one of Epstein's lawyers, former Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr, where he agreed to temporarily hold off on sending out victim notification letters at Starr's request.
Acosta downplayed his office's actions at his Senate confirmation hearing last year, testifying “There was a time when keeping something confidential was less of an issue, but the public expectation today is that things be very public.”
He's defended his handling of the case in the past, as well.
“The bottom line is this: Mr. Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire, served time in jail and is now a registered sex offender. He has been required to pay his victims restitution, though restitution clearly cannot compensate for the crime. And we know much more today about his crimes because the victims have come forward to speak out,” he said in a statement to the Daily Beast in 2011.
After Judge Kenneth Marra's finding in the victims' case that Acosta's office had violated the notification law, a Department of Labor spokesperson released a statement Thursday defending his actions.
Decisions made by Acosta's office "were approved by departmental leadership and followed departmental procedures. This matter remains in litigation and, thus, for any further comment we refer you to the Department of Justice," the statement said.
The Justice Department launched an investigation into how prosecutors handled the case earlier this month.
hile the Los Angeles Lakers begin a push towards the NBA playoffs, they’ll do so without their young starting point guard in Lonzo Ball. The former No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is dealing with an ankle injury which has sidelined him since mid-January. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much in the form of a positive update on his timeline, although he’s progressing – just not on the practice court.
Ball was originally diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain, and the Lakers revealed a timeline for return of four to six weeks. Based on the timing of that news, it would put his return somewhere around early-to-mid March, which won’t leave much time for him to help the team in their push towards the postseason.
While that is a less-than-ideal timeline, the latest rumblings involving Ball’s injury don’t provide much reason for optimism either.
Lakers Provide No Update After All-Star Break
With the NBA All-Star break officially in the rearview mirror, there was some hope the Lakers would at least offer up some type of an update or timeline. That didn’t prove to be the case, and ahead of the team’s first game back against the Houston Rockets, Mike Trudell of the team’s official website reported Ball is getting treatment but hasn’t practiced.
Injury update from Wednesday: Josh Hart (knee tendinitis) and Mike Muscala (sprained ankle) practiced and are probable for Houston tomorrow night. Tyson Chandler (stiff neck) did not practice. Nothing new on Lonzo Ball, who is getting treatment and hasn’t returned to practice.
Looking a bit deeper into the injury we find some interesting information as well on the actual severity, which could point to a longer timeline than anticipated originally. Obviously, every player responds to injury different, but based on the ankle sprain being diagnosed as Grade 3, it may take longer than the four-to-six weeks to heal.
Doctor Points to Possible Longer Timeline for Return
Dr. John Paul Elton, a foot and ankle specialist in Colorado, wrote about Ball’s injuryshortly after it happened. He provided a number of interesting bits of insight, including that Grade 3 sprains feature “significant instability in the joint” and “severe stiffness,” among other things.
Beyond that, his story pointed to Grade 3 sprains usually coming with a recovery timeline of 8-12 weeks and that the reported time which the Lakers provided is often for a Grade 2 sprain.
“Recovery from a grade three ankle sprain will take 8-12 weeks. This is the type of ankle sprain that can take a high school athlete out of the game for an entire season.” Dr. Elton wrote.
On a positive note, Thursday’s game against the Rockets lands just shy of the five-week mark, so if the team’s report proves true, Ball should be getting somewhat close. Once March hits we’ll be into the six-week range and the team has four games from March 1-6. That could be a timeline to monitor for Ball, but he’ll surely need to return to practice before the topic of a full return picks up steam.
Rihanna Has Basketball on the Brain During Date Night With Hassan Jameel
by MIKE VULPO | Fri., Feb. 22, 2019 12:36 PM
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Welcome to the Lake Show featuring special guest Rihanna.
Just one day after celebrating her 31st birthday, the music superstar headed to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for a date night with boyfriend Hassan Jameel.
Instead of sitting front row and courtside with her favorite players, the "Umbrella" singer decided to cheer on the Los Angeles Lakers from a suite alongside her closest friends.
In pictures obtained by E! News, Rihanna sported a LeBron James jersey as she let her hair down and completed her look with denim jeans and plenty of blinged out accessories.
As for Hassan, he couldn't help but smile as his leading lady watched the Lakers come back and beat the Houston Rockets 111 to 106.
Perhaps Rihanna is a lucky charm at the Staples Center?
While her birthday plans remain top-secret, the Grammy winner couldn't help but celebrate on Instagram with a piñata and a serious fashion statement. Her black sweatshirt stated: "It's my birthday and all I got was this oversized hoodie from Vetements."
There is one gift Rihanna may be giving her fans later this year. While promoting her Fenty Beauty makeup this past December, the singer was asked by a follower when a new album could be dropping.
Her answer? "2019."
Until then, the superstar has business and love on the brain as she continues working on various projects behind the scenes. As for her relationship with Hassan, it continues to be a private affair minus a few public date nights.
You do you, RiRi.
TMZ reports today that comedian Brody Stevens, a beloved favorite in the stand-up world, has died. Stevens’ death is currently being reported as a suicide.
Stevens was 48.
NBA scores, highlights: DeMar DeRozan returns to Toronto as Raptors host Spurs; Luka Doncic out of the lineup for Mavs
The NBA offers a nine-game slate on Friday evening
During the offseason, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs severely altered their rosters when they completed a trade that was headlined by Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. Leonard made his return to San Antonio back in January and didn't exactly see the warmest welcome. Now DeRozan will get his chance to return to his former arena when the Spurs take on the Raptors in a battle of two playoff teams.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been one of the more dangerous teams in the NBA this season. Paul George is in the midst of a career year and is making a case for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Additionally, the team furthered its case for postseason success with the addition of veteran forward Markieff Morris. Oklahoma City starts off the second half of the season against the Utah Jazz, who eliminated them in six games in the playoffs a season ago.
NBA schedule for Friday, Feb. 22
*All times Eastern
- Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets, 7 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- San Antonio Spurs at Toronto Raptors, 7 p.m. (Gametracker) -- TV: ESPN
- Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (Gametracker) -- Watch on fuboTV with NBA League Pass extension
- Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (Gametracker) -- TV: ESPN
Raptors crowd gives DeRozan standing ovation
DeMar DeRozan may be a member of the opposition now, but it doesn't mean that he's still not beloved in Toronto. Check out this standing ovation that the former Raptors guard received prior to the start of the Spurs' game at ScotiaBank Arena.
Doncic out (ankle) versus Nuggets
The Mavericks will be without their franchise player tonight. According to head coach Rick Carlisle, Luka Doncic is out versus the Nuggets due to an ankle injury.
Jackson Jr. out versus Clippers
It looks like one of the league's top rookies will be sidelined versus the Clippers on Friday night. According to Rotoworld, Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. will be out with a quad injury when Memphis hosts Los Angeles.
Towns out versus Knicks due to car accident
The T-Wolves will be without their franchise player for their first game after the All-Star break. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Karl-Anthony Towns is out for tonight's game at the Knicks following a car accident.
According to the celebrity gossip site, the actor, model and TV host was found dead in his bed by his fiancé Friday morning. The cause of death is unclear. Gable's relatives didn't immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
His mother, Tracy Yarro Scheff, also confirmed the death on Instagram.
“It’s is with an extremely heavy heart we say goodbye to my beautiful son Clark,” she wrote. "He passed this morning. I will always be next to you my beautiful son. Mom.”
Kayley Gable, his sister, shared the tragic news on Facebook.
"My brother was found unresponsive this morning by his fiancé and didn't wake up," she wrote on Facebook. "I LOVE YOU CLARKIE I'm so sorry we couldn't save you my heart is broken and shattered RIP."
Gable is best known for being the host of the reality show “Cheaters” in Seasons 13 and 14.
Gable’s official website revealed he embarked on a modeling career at age 5 and later studied at the New York Film Academy after completing his first film in Italy. While he was often compared to his famous grandfather, known as “the King of Hollywood” during his reign, Gable wanted to be recognized for his own work.
“Acting in films — It’s in my blood, and I really want to do it just like my grandfather,” he shared on his page. “But I don’t want to be compared to him in any way because I am different. I just happen to be born into these great circumstances, so I feel it gives me a great opportunity for what I want to do.”
He listed actor George Clooney as a major influence.
“His ability to take on and master such diverse roles is a real inspiration and strong influence on me, especially while growing up as a young model and aspiring actor as a teenager," Gable noted.
According to his site, Gable was an avid lover of the outdoors and listed surfing, skateboarding, fishing, skydiving, and RC aerial photographer and drone videography as some of his passions. He reportedly worked with Hollywood production companies and studios for his drone flying expertise for “special film and video projects and sometimes private lessons — or just to have some fun in between acting projects.”
Gable stirred headlines in 2011 when he was arrested for shining a laser pointer at an LAPD helicopter. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
In 2009, Gable was stabbed in the chest during a house party in swanky Calabasas, Calif. TMZ shared Gable was defending a friend, who was being harassed by two men when he was stabbed in the left side of his upper torso.
At the time, Gable said he was suing for more than $25,000 in damages.
TMZ reported Gable is survived by his parents, John Clark Gable and Scheff, as well as his sister Kayley and a daughter named Shore.