President Donald Trump threw a Super Bowl watch party where he cheered on the New England Patriots, the team owned by his friend Robert Kraft, alongside a curious guest: the founder of the day spa where Kraft would be accused of soliciting sex days later.
There is even photographic proof. Trump at some point turned in his seat at his West Palm Beach country club on Feb. 3 for a selfie with Li “Cindy” Yang, 45, who founded the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. The Miami Herald first published the photograph.
On Feb. 22, Jupiter law enforcement accused Kraft, 77, of soliciting sex acts on two separate occasions at the spa. Police say they have the Patriots owner committing the crimes on video. Two dozen people have also been charged in what Jupiter officials characterize as a human trafficking sting, alleging that the businesses preyed on vulnerable women.
Trump said he was “surprised” by the charges against Kraft in the immediate aftermath of the announcement and cited the Patriots owner’s own denial. Through attorneys, the billionaire Kraft maintains he did not break the law.
Yang has become a regular at GOP political events, flaunting on her Facebook page photographs showing her posed with Trump himself and other prominent conservative figures, such as Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). She has also been pictured with Trump’s two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, and posed at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
In a couple of images, she holds a rhinestone-encrusted “MAGA” clutch. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
Yang sold the Orchids day spa around six years ago, but she would not answer the Herald’s questions about whether she knew its current employees were selling sexual services.
The woman who bought Orchids in 2013, Hua Zhang, was among those charged in the bust, the newspaper reported.
Originally from China, Yang founded a local chain of day spas in 2007 that would eventually gain a reputation for offering illicit services. None of the 10 spas shuttered in connection with the Jupiter Police Department’s bust, however, were still registered to her, according to the Herald.
She told the newspaper she would be moving soon to Washington, D.C.
Kraft, who has owned the Patriots since 1994, was charged with two misdemeanors in the Jupiter Police Department’s multi-jurisdiction human trafficking investigation, which could end up implicating more than 200 people. His attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
“These girls are there all day long, into the evening,” Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said in a press conference last month.
“They can’t leave and they’re performing sex acts. Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not.”
Not all of the women involved may agree with Currey’s assessment that they are trapped in their situation and need rescuing, as HuffPost previously reported.