--On Newsstands October 8--

In Vanity Fair’s November issue, contributor May Jeong offers an in-depth look at how Robert Kraft, one of the NFL’s most successful owners, found himself embroiled in a very public legal battle after charges of soliciting prostitution at a Florida day spa. Kraft, the 78-year-old owner of the New England Patriots and a well-known buddy of President Trump, was among hundreds of other men charged with soliciting prostitution at the West Palm Beach establishment, tied to an international human trafficking investigation. Jeong gathers compelling details from a slew of characters involved in the scandal, including Hua Zhang, or “Mandy,” the co-owner of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa where Kraft said he had felt a real connection with the women who provided him with services beyond an ordinary massage.

Throughout the piece, Jeong weaves together a frenzy of narratives and uncovers some surprising insights along the way. Kraft, who understands that sometimes the best defense is a good offense, has hired some of the best lawyers that a billionaire can buy, including Jack Goldberger, the Palm Beach attorney who helped broker a plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein. Kraft has rejected a plea bargain, which, had he admitted guilt would have resulted in all charges being dropped and his record expunged. Instead, Jeong notes, he has chosen to devote his tremendous resources to destroying the state’s case.

Jeong points out that in Florida, as in most other states, the purchasing of sex is a misdemeanor, but the selling of sex is policed far more severely. And after the raids on Orchids and other massage parlors were conducted, the only people put in jail were the women themselves. Jeong traces Florida’s revamped fight against sex and human trafficking back to a long line of similar laws including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first law to bar all members of a specific ethnicity or nationality from immigrating.

Jeong concludes by comparing the swift action of Kraft’s legal team with the numerous alleged sex workers who remain in ICE custody awaiting possible deportation.

“Under Florida law,” she writes, “it would appear, happy endings are the exclusive property of men.”

**Read “Patriot Act,” by May Jeong on