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Patriots owner Robert Kraft formally charged in Florida prostitution sting

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Florida prosecutors on Monday filed formal charges against Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots football team, and about two dozen other men for soliciting prostitution at massage parlors, authorities said on Monday.

The investigation by law enforcement officers in three Florida counties into the trafficking of young women to work at day spas and massage parlors has led to hundreds being charged.

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Kraft, 77, and the other defendants charged with first-degree misdemeanors “come from all walks of life,” Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County, told reporters.

On Friday, police named Kraft as a client at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, saying they had video of him engaging in paid sex acts with a worker there on two occasions.

Florida law requires that defendants convicted of those crimes pay a $5,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service and take classes on the dangers of prostitution and human trafficking, Aronberg said. While they also face possible jail time of 60 days to one year, it is not likely to be applied to first-time offenders, he said.

Kraft denies engaging in “any illegal activity,” according to Aaron Salkin, a spokesman for Kraft and the Super Bowl champion Patriots, the National Football League’s dominant franchise.

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Kraft and the other defendants were charged as part of a statewide probe into human trafficking, which Aronberg said was still underway.

“The larger picture which we must all confront is the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are themselves victims,” he said.

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The NFL, which said last week it was monitoring the case, released a new statement on Monday saying everyone, including team owners, were bound by the league’s personal conduct policy.

“We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation,” the statement said. “We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”

Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘That is ridiculous’: Andrew Gillum obliterates Santorum for claiming guns aren’t ‘problem’ in mass shootings

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CNN contributor Andrew Gillum called conservative pundit Rick Santorum "ridiculous" on Sunday for suggesting that guns are not the problem in mass shootings.

During a CNN discussion on gun control, Santorum criticized calls from Democratic candidates for the government to buy back assault-style weapons in addition to banning them.

"The truth is something has to give," Gillum said. "The stranglehold that the NRA seems to have over Congress, over Washington, D.C., in my opinion, is insane. How can we put the priorities of one interest group above the safety, the security of the American people?"

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CNN’s Jake Tapper confronts Trump adviser Navarro with long list of experts calling him a disaster

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In a highly contentious interview on CNN's "State of the Union", host Jake Tapper confronted Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Peter Navarro, with a seemingly endless list of economists, analysts and business publications who believe he and his economic advice have both been a disaster and that he is not being straight with the public.

After refusing multiple times to concede that President Donald Trump's trade war -- and accompanying tariffs -- are having any effect on an economy that many financial prognosticators believe is headed towards a recession, Tapper confronted the White House adviser with the list of his critics -- including the Wall Street Journal.

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Internet goes wild over ‘obviously drunk’ Larry Kudlow on Fox News: ‘He’s lying while slurring his words’

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Speculation was rampant on Sunday that White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was drunk on Fox News.

"There is no economic recession in sight," Kudlow insisted to Fox News Sunday host Dana Perino.

Twitter, however, was buzzing about Kudlow's speech patterns instead of his questionable economic optimism.

"Pretty sure Larry Kudlow is drunk on my TV right now... And he is lying while slurring his words," one Twitter user noted.

"Kudlow is on fox news Sunday right now and from my 30 yrs of tending bar, I gotta say this guy appears drunk," another user observed.

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