New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has lawyered up after the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office charged him with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.
Kraft, 77, allegedly visited the massage parlor Jan. 19 and 20, and paid for sex with staff. He pleaded not guilty to both charges on Thursday, requesting a nonjury trial, after selecting West Palm Beach attorney Jack Goldberger to defend him.
Goldberger, a founding partner at Atterbury, Goldberger & Weiss, has been a criminal defense lawyer for more than 30 years. His career began at the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office, where he worked on complex trial litigation and capital appeals before pivoting to private practice in 1981.
Goldberger represented billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein — who hired a dream team of legal A-listers including Alan Dershowitz, Roy Black and Gerald Lefcourt.
Though investigators accused Epstein of abusing hundreds of underage girls in a worldwide sex ring, he pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and served just 13 months in Palm Beach County jail. The case recently catapulted back into the headlines when a federal judge ruled his plea deal was unlawful.
Goldberger served for more than a decade on the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission and helped create local drug and community courts that seek alternative treatment options for offenders. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1978, and later the New Jersey Bar, various federal bars, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from the University of Miami.
On the other side is West Palm Beach attorney Pamela Ann Ford, who is prosecuting the case. She was admitted to the bar in 1991 and has been an assistant state attorney since at least 1996. Her office Thursday refused to elaborate on her career, and Ford did not her respond to requests for comment before deadline.
Kraft was one of 25 people caught in a law enforcement investigation into possible human trafficking. Investigators claim they caught him on video surveillance footage obtained under a “sneak and peak” warrant, which allows cameras on private premises without the owner’s knowledge.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg held a press conference Monday, officially charging Kraft and 24 others. He stressed that the case is larger than the defendants and focuses on a bigger human trafficking scheme.
“The cold reality is that many prostitutes in cases like this are the victims, often lured to this country with the promises of a better life, only to be forced to live and work in a sweatshop or a brothel, subject to force, fraud or coercion,” Aronberg said during the press conference.
West Palm Beach Circuit Judge Frank Castor will preside over the case and has scheduled Kraft’s arraignment for March 27.