Outspoken Florida sheriff admits they can't prove human trafficking in Kraft case

Alex Reimer
March 28, 2019 - 9:50 am

When soliciting prostitution charges were first announced against Robert Kraft and other johns in Florida, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said he was certain the massage parlors ensnared in the sting were part of an international human trafficking operation.

“It was clear to us that this was a trafficking case because of the circumstances I enumerated: They’re not leaving, they’re there 24 hours a day, the hygiene was minimal at best, just a bathroom,” he said last month, per CNN. “We saw them eating on hot plates in the back. There were no washing machines. They were sleeping on the massage tables.”

Over the ensuing six weeks, however, Florida authorities have not unveiled any human trafficking charges in the case. Though that doesn’t mean all of the workers were there willingly –– the Boston Globe recently published an op-ed from survivors of the sex trade saying most women who work in the multibillion-dollar underground industry are there against their will –– it seems like the human trafficking portion of the investigation was trumped up.

And now Synder, perhaps the most vocal law enforcement official about the case, is admitting it. “It looks like trafficking,” he told WPTV. “It feels like trafficking. It sounds like trafficking. I believe it is human trafficking. But we are just a little short to being able to prove that.”

William A. Burck, one of the Kraft’s attorneys, eviscerated Snyder’s handling of the case following the sheriff’s revelation. "Sheriff Will Snyder admitted that there was no human trafficking,” he said to USA Today. "He lied about it. His officers lied about it. I don't really know what to say. I've never seen anything quite like that before.

"They are supposed to be upholding the law. They are supposed to be officers of justice, but instead he's concocting false allegations against people in order to further headlines rather than justice. Sheriff Snyder said ‘the monsters are the men.' Sheriff Snyder is the liar."

Though Kraft and none of the other johns were charged with trafficking, the Patriots’ owner has become tied to the grotesque trade, thanks to the sheriff’s public proclamations. It has spurned scores of scathing editorials across the country and letters from activists, some of which have called for Kraft to sell the Patriots or be banished from the NFL.

Earlier this week, WPTV reported Florida authorities didn’t receive explicit permission to record the activities inside of the spa with surveillance cameras. Kraft’s attorneys filed an order to seal any videotape evidence.

Related: Court orders show why Robert Kraft could get videotape evidence thrown out in prostitution case