New England Patriots

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft watches from the sidelines before the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft watches from the sidelines before the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

From the NFL Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com

A new court filing in Palm Beach County says that Patriots owner Robert Kraft “MUST BE PRESENT” at a hearing for his arraignment on charges of soliciting another to commit prostitution. The hearing date is set at March 28, one day later than the original date of March 27 – the final day of the NFL’s owners meetings in Phoenix, Ariz.

Near the top of the hearing notice is the following phrase, underlined in all caps: “THE DEFENDANT MUST BE PRESENT AT THIS HEARING”. The document notes that his absence at the hearing would result in bond forfeiture and arrest warrant.

The order for Kraft to appear at the hearing runs contrary to the procedure outlined by authorities in Palm Beach County. The initial indication was that Kraft would not be required to appear himself, and could have his attorney represent him instead.

UPDATE: Kraft’s attorney has released the following statement, confirming that Kraft does not actually have to appear in court: “This is a routine procedural hearing that the Court sets based on its schedule. The notice of appearance by the defendant is boilerplate, but in fact the lawyer appears for the defendant in a misdemeanor case. The defendant does not appear.”

Kraft recently hired two high-profile attorneys in his case: Jack Goldberger, who is perhaps best known for defending prominent financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted solicitor and registered sex offender; and William Burck, a former White House lawyer for the George W. Bush administration.

The Patriots owner has been charged with two counts of solicitation at the Orchids of Asia day spa in Jupiter, Fla. It’s being treated as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, and a mandatory course on the dangers of prostitution and sex trafficking.

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