Mike Florio on M&C maps out best-case scenario for Robert Kraft from PR standpoint with prostitution charges

Ryan Hannable
March 05, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Last week, Robert Kraft pled not guilty to soliciting prostitution at a Florida massage parlor and a court date has been set for March 27, although he himself does not need to appear.

What about the NFL? Where will things go from here regarding a punishment from the league?

Appearing on Mut & Callahan Tuesday, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio mapped out a best-case scenario for Kraft, and it involves issuing a penalty to himself.

“Obviously, it is going to be a fine and a suspension, right? [Commissioner Roger Goodell] has to do that," Florio said. "The commissioner is in a tough spot here because no matter what he does there will be people on each side saying it either was too much, or it wasn’t enough. I think the best outcome, if we’re looking at the best outcome that minimizes PR damage, would be something that Kraft imposes on himself and it appears he does it voluntarily. And it would be on the strong side of what the commissioner would have done any way. I think this would get the commissioner off the hot seat if this is where this goes.

"Now look, all we know from Robert Kraft is he’s issued a categorical denial. He has pleaded not guilty. He hired a lawyer in Florida to handle the charges. He may decide to push this thing to the limit. And then the question becomes … if the NFL wants this to go away quickly and Robert Kraft decides I am innocent and I am going to push this to the limit, is there some sort of negotiated compromise to what the punishment would be to get him to plead guilty.”

Why would Kraft "push this to the limit?"

“There’s always arguments you can make," Florio said. "There’s always, whether it is technicalities, whether it is [subjective]. Just because they have that video, they can look — criminal defense lawyers are very good at finding ways to get their clients exonerated. The more money you have to pay for the best ones, the better the chance you’re going to get an exoneration. Even if he ultimately pushes it to a trial and would lose, just the fact it would be hanging around for a long time, a year, a year and a half, however long it would take. Again, I don’t want to make this about a bargain between the Patriots and the league, I am just laying this out as a possibility.

"If Robert Kraft decides he’s going to push this, and say I want a jury trial, and I am innocent, and I am am going to exercise all my rights under the laws of the state of Florida and if the NFL says, we would rather this just go away, and that becomes a factor in some sort of a negotiated compromise. … The problem is if it appears the commissioner has gone easy on him, the commissioner is the one who is going to be right back in that hot seat he was in when the Ray Rice exploded back in 2014.”

Kraft will have the chance to publicly address the charges for the first time at the NFL owners meetings in late March, but it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he chooses not to speak.

Related: Rob Gronkowski back with Patriots in 2019? Mike Florio on M&C details what he heard on Super Bowl Sunday that says yes

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