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Patriots owner Kraft cleared of massage parlor sex charge

Thu Sep 24 2:07pm ET
Associated Press

In this Oct. 21, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft points to fans as his team warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Florida prosecutors said Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, that they will not appeal a court's decision to block video allegedly showing Kraft paying for massage parlor sex, making it likely the charges against him will be dropped. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

In this Feb. 2, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walks on the field before the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge against New England Patriots owner Kraft on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, saying they couldn't go forward after courts blocked their use of video that allegedly shows him paying for massage parlor sex. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Florida prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Thursday after courts blocked their use of video that allegedly shows him paying for massage parlor sex.

Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg will explain the decision during an online press conference later Thursday.

Palm Beach County court records show that the owner and manager of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa are still facing numerous felony charges related to running a house of prostitution.

The Florida 4th District Court of Appeal found last month that Jupiter police violated the rights of Kraft and the other customers when they secretly installed video cameras inside massage rooms at the spa in early 2019. The court then blocked use of the video footage at trial.

The recordings, which have not been made public, are the only known evidence the men paid for sex. It could not be immediately determined if the charges against the other men have also been dropped, but that is likely.

Prosecutors decided this week not to appeal that decision to the Florida Supreme Court, saying a loss there could have ''broader, negative implications'' on future law enforcement investigations beyond the Kraft case.

Kraft's attorneys have already filed a motion asking that the recordings be destroyed so they could never be released to the public. They said Kraft might be willing to pay the state's costs if anyone challenges a destruction order.

Kraft, 79, could still face suspension or other punishment from the National Football League.

He and the others were charged in February 2019 in a multicounty investigation o f massage parlors that included the secret installation of video cameras in the spas' lobbies and rooms. Police say the recordings show Kraft and other men engaging in sex acts with women and paying them.

Police say they recorded Kraft, a widower, paying for sex acts at the Orchids of Asia spa on consecutive days in January 2019. Kraft pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology for his actions.

A county court judge originally threw out the recordings, saying the warrant allowing the cameras' installation didn't sufficiently protect the privacy of innocent customers who received legal massages. The 4th District agreed, ruling that planting video cameras in private spaces is an ''extreme'' measure that should only be used when absolutely necessary.

''To permit otherwise would yield unbridled discretion to agents of law enforcement and the government, the antithesis of the constitutional liberty of people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures,'' the court ruled.

Prosecutors argued that they needed the recordings to convict the Orchids of Asia owners of felonies, including possible human trafficking - though no one was charged with that crime. The owners must be shown receiving payments from the prostitutes and the only way to get that is to install cameras, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Kraft would have likely received a fine, community service and other sanctions that did not include jail time.

According to Forbes Magazine, Kraft is worth almost $7 billion. He employed several high-priced attorneys to defend him in the case.

Player Notes
D.J. Chark Sep 24 2:20pm ET

It looked like he was trending towards being a full go on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins, but Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. (chest/back) has been officially ruled out. A few things change with no Chark out. First, Chris Conley likely sees a major jump in playing time, making him an intriguing deep-league flex option. Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault Jr. should play about as much as before, with both potentially seeing an extra target or two, with Shenault likely to see the biggest bump of the two because he offers more downfield potential. Finally, expect Dede Westbrook to be active, but don't expect to use him in any fantasy or DFS lineups, as he'll likely be a fringe option in this receiving corps.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Sep 24 2:00pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) missed practice on Wednesday and doesn't appear likely to return to action in Week 3 against the Buccaneers after sitting out in Week 2 with turf toe. Lindsay initially suffered the injury in the season-opener, and his timetable was set for two to four weeks. His injury makes Melvin Gordon more of an RB2 because of his guaranteed larger workload, with Royce Freeman picking up scraps behind him. Lindsay is probably only worth holding onto right now in shallow leagues if you own Gordon. The two were in a near-even timeshare in Week 1 before Lindsay was injured, which means that Lindsay could have some deep league RB3/flex appeal in PPR formats when he returns.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Sep 24 2:00pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman is likely to operate as the backup to Melvin Gordon in Week 3 against the Buccaneers with Phillip Lindsay (toe) on the shelf with turf toe. However, Freeman saw just three carries for 20 yards in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers and just isn't seeing enough touches, even as the No. 2, to hold any fantasy weight. Tampa's defense has been vulnerable to running backs through the air in the first two weeks, but that's not really Freeman's forte. The 24-year-old should be left to the waiver wire in the majority of leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jeff Driskel Sep 24 1:50pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel will be the starter heading into Week 3 against the Buccaneers with Drew Lock (shoulder) out for a while. Driskel held his own in a comeback attempt against a very tough Steelers Defense last week in relief, throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns. The 27-year-old can run a bit and shouldn't be completely ruled out in a David versus Goliath matchup against Tom Brady, but he'll also be facing a tough Tampa defense without wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee). The Bucs have held both Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater to fewer than 15 fantasy points each of the first two weeks, so Driskel is, at best, a low-end QB2 streamer in superflex leagues this Sunday.

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Melvin Gordon Sep 24 1:50pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon should continue to see a heavy workload with Phillip Lindsay (toe) on the shelf. Gordon ran the ball 19 times for 70 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. The Buccaneers Defense has allowed 26.4 fantasy points per game to running backs in the first two weeks, but those running backs were also Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey, and most of the damage came through the air. Gordon has just six aerial targets through two weeks, but his guaranteed heavy workload should give him RB2 upside despite the less-than-ideal matchup with a backup quarterback under center.

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George Kittle Sep 24 1:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee) has a chance to play in Week 3 against the Giants after sitting out in Week 2 with a knee sprain and a bone bruise in the same knee. It's a good sign that Kittle is on the team's trip to the East Coast, and he was also able to get in a limited practice on Wednesday. The All-Pro tight end missed two games last year with a similar injury, but this injury isn't considered as serious. However, concerns over the turf at MetLife Stadium could cause the Niners to play it safe and keep Kittle out for one more week. If Kittle is active against New York, he's a must-start tight end. If he misses another game, Jordan Reed, who had a big Week 2, would become a streaming option yet again.

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Alshon Jeffery Sep 24 1:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) is on the practice field on Thursday with a helmet and looks to be ready to get some practice work in. Everything is pointing to Jeffery being ready to make his 2020 season debut within the next few weeks after he underwent surgery for a foot sprain last December. It will be much-needed for a struggling Philly offense that just placed rookie first-rounder Jalen Reagor (thumb) on Injured Reserve. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and rookie John Hightower should see more playing time until both Jeffery and Reagor return, but DeSean Jackson is the only viable fantasy play in Week 3 against the Bengals as a boom/bust WR3/flex. Although the 30-year-old Jeffery has a much lower ceiling these days, he may be worth stashing if you have the room and are hurting at the receiver position.

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Breshad Perriman Sep 24 1:20pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (ankle) will not practice on Thursday, while wide receiver Chris Hogan (rib) is limited while dealing with a rib injury. On top of it, Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is expected to miss his second straight game against the Colts. Braxton Berrios and Josh Malone are the only other wideouts on the roster, although Lawrence Cager could get called up from the practice squad. Running back Le'Veon Bell is also out. The Jets offense is downright ugly, making the Colts Defense a strong streaming option this week. Perriman is considered week-to-week, but you should've already been looking to avoid him in standard 12-team leagues. Other than maybe tight end Chris Herndon as a flex sleeper, it would be smart to avoid Gang Green.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Sep 24 1:00pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (groin) is sitting out practice once again on Thursday as he continues to deal with a groin injury. He's currently listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, but he may move to doubtful if he's unable to get in even a limited practice on Friday. If Kirk is out on Sunday, Andy Isabella could see an increased role in the offense, but is still a pretty risky player to start in fantasy this week. Isabella caught both of his targets for 67 yards in Week 2 while Kirk caught two of his four targets for 57 yards.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 24 12:30pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings are signing former Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis to a one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. It'll give the Vikings some depth at the position following the season-ending injury to Anthony Barr (pectoral). Davis had two straight seasons of 100-plus tackles in Denver, so he could really help the Vikings make up for Barr's absence. However, with the Vikings getting trampled both on the ground and through the air through two weeks, you can continue avoiding them in fantasy football, especially with the Titans on the scheduled this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Sep 24 12:30pm ET

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is doubtful to play in Week 3 against the Colts. Crowder didn't practice on Wednesday and is expected to sit out on Thursday, too, making him likely to miss his second straight game. As quarterback Sam Darnold's favorite weapon, Crowder is really the only Jets receiver worth starting in most fantasy leagues at this point, but it looks like you'll have to go in another direction for another week. Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios should operate in three-receiver sets if Crowder misses another game, with tight end Chris Herndon being a sleeper in DFS and deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Chark Sep 24 12:20pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. (back, chest), who is questionable for the Thursday night game against the Dolphins, is trending upward, but no final decision on his status will be made until closer to kickoff, according to a source. Chark has been limited in practice the last two days, so he has a good chance of being active. The 24-year-old has flown under the radar through two weeks with teammate Keelan Cole getting most of the recognition, but Chark remains the team's No. 1 wideout. If active, Chark should draw the coverage of cornerback Xavien Howard. He'll be a WR3 in fantasy for Week 3. If he sits, Cole, rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and Chris Conley will see more work.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Sep 24 12:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield turned in a serviceable performance in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals as he tossed two touchdowns and notched 219 passing yards. He will face off against the Washington Football Team at home in Week 3 in what could be a tough matchup. While Washington's secondary has been suspect, they boast a dominant pass rush that could give Mayfield fits on Sunday. That sets Mayfield up as a boom/bust QB2 in fantasy. It all depends on whether his offensive line can give him time to operate. If that happens, Mayfield could have a good afternoon. That being said, if Washington can hurry him consistently throughout the contest, it could look a lot like his Week 1 dud. Fantasy gamers should treat Mayfield as a low-end QB2 for Week 3.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Sep 24 12:00pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense is a strong option heading into a Week 3 matchup against the Houston Texans. Pittsburgh's defense has been one of the best in the league through two weeks and will face off against a leaky Houston offensive line that has allowed Deshaun Watson to get sacked eight times through two games. While Watson is a special talent, the Steelers defense is primed for another solid fantasy performance as four-point home favorites. Start the Pittsburgh D/ST in all formats for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Sep 24 10:30am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron is off to a slow start with his new team. Ebron has caught just four passes for 61 yards and has yet to find the end zone through two games. The veteran tight end has shown in past years that he has plenty of touchdown upside but it appears he's going to need to find the end zone to be useful in fantasy in 2020 as he's the fourth or fifth option at best in the Pittsburgh passing attack. Fantasy gamers should have a better starting option than Ebron in Week 3 as he's just a low-end TE2, even against a weak Houston Texans pass defense.

From RotoBaller

Chase Claypool Sep 24 10:30am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool showed his explosiveness in Week 2 when he caught three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. The rookie wideout is suddenly of interest in redraft leagues after catching all five of his targets for 127 yards and a score through two weeks. He draws a plus matchup against a weak Houston Texans Defense in Week 3. Fantasy gamers can fire up Claypool as a boom/bust flex in Week 3 but understand that he's a risky option. While he may grow into a larger role later in the season, Claypool isn't being targeted heavily and will need to break a big play to help in fantasy at this point.

From RotoBaller

Diontae Johnson Sep 24 10:20am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has lived up to the preseason hype so far through two games in the 2020 season. Johnson leads the team in targets (23), receptions (14), and receiving yards (149) at this point in the season. Fantasy gamers will want to lock Johnson into their starting lineups ahead of a Week 3 matchup against a leaky Houston Texans pass defense. Houston ranks just 23rd in DVOA against the pass through two games and have little chance at slowing the ascending Johnson. Treat Johnson as a low-end WR1 for Week 3 and a great value play in DFS contests as his price hasn't caught up with his production.

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Jordan Reed Sep 24 10:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed was the focal point of the team's passing game in Week 2. Reed caught a team-high seven passes on eight targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns. The team's No. 1 tight end George Kittle (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis this week and is currently questionable to play in Week 3. If Kittle plays, Reed is a risky start and probably best to avoid. If Kittle sits again, Reed is a solid low-end starting tight end option. The team's starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is questionable for the game and if backup Nick Mullens gets the start, all 49ers pass-catchers figure to have a tougher time producing. Don't count on a repeat of Week 2 from Reed if Kittle sits and Mullens is under center, but he should still see enough targets to warrant starting.

From RotoBaller

Benny Snell Jr. Sep 24 10:10am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. struggled in a Week 2 win over the Denver Broncos. Many expected Snell to split carries with James Conner after the latter injured his ankle in Week 1, but instead Conner out-touched Snell 18 to four last week. If Snell is going to remain in a strict backup role then fantasy gamers should have little trouble finding a better option to start for Week 3. Treat Snell as a nothing more than a handcuff option to Conner going forward and leave him on the bench despite a favorable Week 3 matchup against the Houston Texans.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 24 10:10am ET

The 49ers Defense should be in position to have a solid fantasy output in Week 3, despite losing star defensive end Nick Bosa (ACL) for the season. The 49ers have a plethora of injuries on offense and that will likely lead to a defensive battle in Week 3 against the New York Giants. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has three interceptions through two games and has been sacked seven times. Expect the 49ers to hold the Giants under 20 points while also forcing some turnovers, making them a solid starting option in Week 3.

From RotoBaller