New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s legal team didn’t miss a Florida sheriff’s admission in a television interview about the investigation into massage parlors that ensnared Kraft and more than 300 others.
“Sheriff Will Snyder admitted that there was no human trafficking,” attorney William Burck told USA TODAY Sports Wednesday night. “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.”
Snyder, the sheriff of Martin County, and his office weren’t involved with the surveillance or arrests that included Kraft’s — on two misdemeanor solicitation charges in Jupiter, Florida, last month.
Snyder’s office, however, reached out to Jupiter police in neighboring Palm Beach County to alert them about the spa Kraft frequented on consecutive days, the latter hours before the Patriots faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game on Jan. 20.
Kraft pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. There’s a hearing on the case scheduled for April 9.
“I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard,” Kraft said in a written statement released on Saturday.
MORE: Kraft files motion to keep sex spa videos private
Snyder has also touted the investigation as a human trafficking angle, including in multiple interviews and even in an op-ed for The Hill. But in a recent interview with West Palm Beach NBC affiliate WPTV, Snyder said his office is “just a little short to being able to prove” human trafficking occurred.
“He’s trying to hide behind it by saying they didn’t find enough evidence,” Burck said. “You don’t get on a soapbox and start accusing people of being involved in human trafficking and then, weeks later, say ‘never mind’ and think that’s the way you can get away with that.
“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.”
Reached Wednesday night, Snyder told USA TODAY Sports that he still believes this is a sex trafficking case — even if he can’t prove it currently. He also didn’t regret linking the men arrested to human/sex trafficking.
“Zero because it is sex trafficking,” said Snyder, who helped write Florida’s human trafficking laws as a member of the state’s House of Representatives. “There are several women lower down (in the alleged operation) that could still cooperate. Notwithstanding that, this has the makings of a classic, unadulterated sex trafficking ring. Period.”
Others involved in investigation or prosecution of the cases have mentioned links to possible human trafficking, including the Palm Beach County prosecutor who oversees Kraft’s case. State Attorney Dave Aronberg described human trafficking in Palm Beach County as an “evil in our midst.”
Snyder, however, has remained the most outspoken.
“They can get all the high-priced attorneys they want and scream and yell that the cops are the bad ones,” Snyder told USA TODAY Sports. “But the cops weren’t the ones who were having … sex in the spas.”
So far, one person has sex-trafficking related charges: Lanyun Ma, a 49-year-old woman who ran a spa in Vero Beach, about 70 miles north of Jupiter, from the one linked to Kraft.
Contributing: Melissa E. Holsman TCPalm.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ A.J. Perez on Twitter @byajperez.