BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was ordered Thursday to appear in a Florida court later this month to face charges in a prostitution case, but it’s likely he won’t have to show up in person.
A notice of hearing in Kraft’s case was filed Thursday, requiring him to be in court for an arraignment in Palm Beach Gardens on March 28 at 9 a.m.
In capital letters, the document says, “THE DEFENDANT MUST BE PRESENT AT THIS HEARING.” The document adds that a failure to appear will result in a “bond forfeiture, or revocation of own recognizance (O.R.) and a Capias/Warrant being issued for your arrest.”
Previous court documents in the case indicated that Kraft would not be required to appear. Jack Goldberger, one of Kraft’s attorneys, told WBZ-TV Thursday that remains the case.
“This is a routine procedural hearing that the Court sets based on its schedule. The notice of appearance by the defendant is boilerplate, but in fact the lawyer appears for the defendant in a misdemeanor case. The defendant does not appear,” Goldeberger said in an email.
The Palm Beach County clerk also confirmed to WBZ that Kraft can be represented by his attorney at the hearing.
Kraft is facing two misdemeanor charges in the case. Prosecutors allege he paid for sex acts inside the Orchids of Asia massage parlor in Jupiter on two occasions in January, the same weekend the Patriots played in the AFC Championship Game.
Through a spokesman, Kraft previously denied the charges.
The case could also be continued until another date to allow both sides to work out a plea, according to WBZ-TV’s Cheryl Fianadaca. Kraft has already entered an early not guilty plea and previously asked for a trial with no jury on the low-level charges.
These cases rarely go to trial, according to Fiandaca, who adds that Kraft’s case will not. Defendants enter what’s called a diversion program. They attend classes to educate them on human trafficking, pay a fine and sometimes are ordered to perform community service. Even though the law also calls for a 60-day jail sentence, that’s rarely imposed, Fiandaca said, even with repeat offenders.