Patriots' Robert Kraft releases first statement after solicitation charge

(CBSNEWS) -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Saturday issued his first public statement since he was charged in connection to a prostitution ring bust last month. In a statement, Kraft apologized and said he has "extraordinary respect for women."

Last month, Kraft pleaded not guilty to two charges of soliciting prostitution. Police said they have surveillance video of Kraft engaging in sex acts during two visits to massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison.

"In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night," Kraft said in the statement.

"I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks. I am truly sorry. 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 was one of 25 men charged as a result of the investigation, along with a number of people accused of running the illicit operations.

"Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years," the statement said.

"As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect."

Kraft, 77, has owned the Patriots for 25 years. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls during that time, most recently Super Bowl LIII earlier this month in Atlanta. CBS Boston reported the NFL is investigating the allegations against Kraft.

"Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL," the league said in a statement. "We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the Policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts."

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