White House

Founder of spa where Patriot’s owner was charged attended Trump’s Super Bowl party

The woman, Li Yang, is a Chinese entrepreneur who started a chain of South Florida day spas, the Miami Herald reports

President Donald Trump holds up a New England Patriots jersey bearing his name and the number 45 at an event congratulating the team on their 2017 Super Bowl victory. (Katherine Tully McManus/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump posed for a selfie during a Super Bowl party at his West Palm Beach country club with the woman who founded Orchids of Asia Day Spa — the massage parlor now at the center of a sex trafficking and prostitution investigation, a new Miami Herald report said Friday

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a longtime friend of Trump, was charged with soliciting a prostitute at the strip mall massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. 

The woman, Li Yang, is a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of day spas in South Florida, the Herald report said. 

Yang was spotted in photos with Trump, Trump’s children and with Florida politician Ron DeSantis at the president’s resort, Mar-a-Lago, the paper reported. She also made contributions to Trump Victory and the president’s campaign.

“Nineteen days after Trump and Yang posed together while rooting for the Patriots, authorities would charge Kraft with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter that Yang had founded more than a decade earlier,” the Herald report said.

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Yang said the parlor had been long since sold, that she was no longer in the business and has plans to move to Washington, D.C., the Herald reported. She was not charged in the case, and none of the parlors that were part of the bust are registered to her or her family.

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Yang told the newspaper that she and her family didn’t break the law, “but did not answer questions about whether she knew of the allegations that therapists in her spas were offering sex,” the paper said. 

In the aftermath of Kraft’s arrest, Trump was asked about the case during a media briefing in February. The president said he was  “surprised” and stressed to reporters that Kraft “denies it.”

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The White House has not yet commented on the Herald’s report. 

Kenneth Starr, the former Clinton independent counsel, said Friday the American people “know they didn’t elect a Sunday school teacher.” His comments came on CNN during a debate with former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart about the president’s conduct before and since taking office.

John T. Bennett contributed to this report. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.