Harry Manion on M&C: 98 percent chance 1st-time offender like Kraft isn't convicted

John Tomase
February 25, 2019 - 11:26 am
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft is unlikely to be convicted of soliciting a prostitute and will probably instead seek a pretrial diversion, according to Boston attorney Harry Manion in an interview with Mut & Callahan on Monday.

Kraft faces two charges of solicitation, and a warrant for his arrest could be issued on Monday, but Manion explained that as a first-time offender, Kraft is unlikely to be judged harshly by the legal system.

"It's a very casual situation," he told the hosts, as well as WEEI.com's Alex Reimer. "They're not brought in and arraigned. They're not brought in in handcuffs. They're not even processed, because it's a misdemeanor. So I don't expect any perp walks or anything like that."

As for the case itself, Manion predicted that it almost certainly will be resolved without a conviction.

"There will be a case. It will be in court," he said. "Ninety-eight percent of the time for first offenders, it never results in a conviction. That hasn't really been reported yet, because I don't think people have really dug in on it. From a lot of experience over the years in representing the kinds of athletes and others I've represented, in situations like this, if it's a first offense, which you would presume it is, and Robert's a licensed NFL owner with an unblemished record, I'm sure, your lawyer will say, 'Let's go for pretrial diversion.'"

Manion described that as similar to a no-contest plea: Kraft doesn't plead guilty, isn't convicted, and does not defend the charges.

"It basically allows a first-time offender not to have a criminal record for a mistake they made," Manion said. "That's really the preferable outcome in circumstances like this."

What this means for any possible punishment from the NFL is unclear. Manion suggested that Kraft would be judged by one set of criteria under the league's moral clause if Kraft is convicted and another if he is not.

"There's a lot hanging in the balance," he said. "Most of this will play out well outside the view of the public and the media."

"Looking at it just from Robert Kraft's standpoint, this should go where he never really has to stand in the well of justice and plead," Manion added. "If I were his lawyer, that's what I'd be aiming for from start to finish, which is: 'All right, he was there, and whatever happened, happened, and he accepts that, but we're not going to plead guilty.' And that should be the way it goes, but we're going to see how this plays out in Florida."

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