Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' to Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop congressional probe into Patriots' Spygate scandal - but the ex-President and team owner Robert Kraft deny the claim

 Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' on behalf of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to then-US Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop a congressional probe into the team's infamous Spygate scandal, according to an ESPN report that both Trump and Kraft denied Wednesday.   

Specter had called for a deeper investigation into the scandal, in which the Patriots were caught recording the New York Jets coaches' hand signals to players during a game in September of 2007. The taping, which violated NFL rules, was intended to give the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick insight into the play calling of the Jets.

An outspoken Eagles fan who passed away in 2012 at 82, Specter was hoping to discover the pervasiveness of the Patriots' spying under Belichick, who had coached New England to a Super Bowl win over Philadelphia three years earlier.

Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' on behalf of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (right) to then-US Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop a congressional probe into the team's infamous Spygate scandal, according to an ESPN report that both Trump and Kraft denied Wednesday

Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' on behalf of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (right) to then-US Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop a congressional probe into the team's infamous Spygate scandal, according to an ESPN report that both Trump and Kraft denied Wednesday

Arlen Specter (right) had called for a deeper investigation into the scandal, in which the Patriots were caught recording the New York Jets coaches' hand signals to players during a game in September of 2007. The taping, which violated NFL rules, was intended to give the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick insight into the play calling of the Jets. An outspoken Eagles fan who passed away in 2012 at 82, Specter was hoping to discover the pervasiveness of the Patriots' spying under Belichick, who had coached New England to a Super Bowl win over Philadelphia three years earlier.

Arlen Specter (right) had called for a deeper investigation into the scandal, in which the Patriots were caught recording the New York Jets coaches' hand signals to players during a game in September of 2007. The taping, which violated NFL rules, was intended to give the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick insight into the play calling of the Jets. An outspoken Eagles fan who passed away in 2012 at 82, Specter was hoping to discover the pervasiveness of the Patriots' spying under Belichick, who had coached New England to a Super Bowl win over Philadelphia three years earlier.

Specifically, Specter wanted to know if the taping affected the integrity of Patriots games and why the NFL destroyed evidence at the end of its probe into the matter. (Belichick was fined an NFL record $500,000 over the incident, while the Patriots incurred a $250,000 fine and were stripped of a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft)

According to ESPN, Trump regularly donated the maximum allowable amount to Specter's political campaign committees and the two even ate dinner together in Palm Beach in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Trump allegedly called Specter to say: 'If you laid off the Patriots, there'd be a lot of money in Palm Beach.'


Specter's son Shanin told ESPN that he spoke with his father after the alleged call, claiming that he thought Trump was offering more campaign contributions as opposed to an outright payoff.

'My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,' Shanin Specter said. 'But I'm equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. … My father said it was Kraft's offer, not someone else's.'

Both Kraft and Trump denied the allegation on Wednesday.

'Mr. Kraft is not aware of any involvement of Trump on this topic and he did not have any other engagement with Specter or his staff,' a Patriots spokesperson told ESPN in an email. The team refused to add anything and a Kraft spokesman declined to comment to DailyMail.com.

Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told ESPN that the allegation 'is completely false.'

'We have no idea what you're talking about,' Miller said.

The New England Patriots were accused of spying on the New York Jets during a 2007 game (pictured). The incident later became known as Spygate and cost the Patriots a draft pick

The New England Patriots were accused of spying on the New York Jets during a 2007 game (pictured). The incident later became known as Spygate and cost the Patriots a draft pick 

According to ESPN, Trump's last donation to Specter came in 2008 and was for just $1,300. 

Neither Kraft nor his company, the Kraft Group, ever donated to Specter, according to ESPN.

According to Shanin Specter, now a lawyer in Philadelphia, the call upset his father considerably.

The Spygate taping  was intended to give the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick insight into the play calling of the Jets during the 2007 game (pictured)

The Spygate taping  was intended to give the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick insight into the play calling of the Jets during the 2007 game (pictured)

'He was pissed,' Shanin Specter said. 'My father was upset when [such overtures] would happen because he felt as if it were tantamount to a bribe solicitation, though the case law on this subject says it isn't. … He would tell me these things when they occurred. We were very close.'

Specter, who never reported the alleged call to Senate ethics officials, described the incident in his ghostwritten book, which was published in 2012. However, he never mentioned Trump by name.

'On the signal stealing, a mutual friend had told me that ''if I laid off the Patriots, there'd be a lot of money in Palm Beach,''' remembered Specter in 2012. 'And I replied, ''I couldn't care less.'''

Specter's ghostwriter, former communications aide Charles Robbins, told ESPN that he believed the caller may have been Trump.

'I asked Specter, and he said, ''It doesn't matter, let's move on,'' and I didn't press it.' Robbins told ESPN.

'I was pretty darn sure the offer was made by Trump,' Robbins added. 'At the time, it didn't seem like such an important moment. Back then, Trump was a real estate hustler and a TV personality.'

Former New England Patriots football video assistant Matt Walsh shakes hands with Sen. Arlen Specter after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington to discuss Spygate in 2008

Former New England Patriots football video assistant Matt Walsh shakes hands with Sen. Arlen Specter after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington to discuss Spygate in 2008

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, displays a football helmet while speaking as Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots football team, left, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots LP, right, stand during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, displays a football helmet while speaking as Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots football team, left, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots LP, right, stand during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Specter, who switched from the Republican to Democratic Party over his five terms in the US Senate, ultimately reached out to Kraft to inquire about funds for his re-election in 2010, according to ESPN. However, Kraft never ended up donating to Specter's doomed campaign.

Specter's son Shanin (pictured) told ESPN that he spoke with his father after the alleged call, claiming that he thought Trump was offering more campaign contributions as opposed to an outright payoff. 'My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,' Shanin Specter said. 'But I'm equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. … My father said it was Kraft's offer, not someone else's'

Specter's son Shanin (pictured) told ESPN that he spoke with his father after the alleged call, claiming that he thought Trump was offering more campaign contributions as opposed to an outright payoff. 'My father told me that Trump was acting as a messenger for Kraft,' Shanin Specter said. 'But I'm equally sure the reference to money in Palm Beach was campaign contributions, not cash. The offer was Kraft assistance with campaign contributions. … My father said it was Kraft's offer, not someone else's'

A source familiar with the encounter told DailyMail.com that Kraft only took the meeting to set Specter straight about the alleged phone call from Trump, hoping to explain to the Senator that he had been misled.

Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time of the Spygate fallout, had pressured commissioner Roger Goodell to grant him access to players, coaches, and executives, but nobody from the league agreed to speak with him.

Patriots football video assistant Matt Walsh did speak with Specter and other legislators in 2008 and claimed the team recorded St. Louis Rams’ walk-through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. 

Ultimately Goodell destroyed the evidence of the 2007 Jets taping, saying it confirmed what he already knew, and effectively ended the matter.

In response, Specter released a statement: 'My strong preference is for the NFL to activate a Mitchell-type investigation, I have been careful not to call for a Congressional hearing because I believe the NFL should step forward and embrace an independent inquiry and Congress is extraordinarily busy on other matters. If the NFL continues to leave a vacuum, Congress may be tempted to fill it.'

Congress never took any further action in the matter. 

Trump called Kraft (far right) every week for a year to console him after his wife Myra (near right) passed away in 2011, the Patriots owner told the New York Daily News in 2017

Trump called Kraft (far right) every week for a year to console him after his wife Myra (near right) passed away in 2011, the Patriots owner told the New York Daily News in 2017

A lifelong Democrat and Palm Beach resident, Kraft has been friends with Trump for years and even donated $1 million to the now-former President's inaugural fund.

However, he and Trump were at odds over NFL players' right to protest inequality and racist police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump attacked the players at rallies and on Twitter in late 2017, while Kraft released a public statement, claiming to be 'deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments.' 

Since then, Kraft attended a state dinner with Trump, who was honoring the the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Kraft also defended Trump on Fox News in 2019, saying, '[Trump is] working very hard to serve the best interest of the country.' 

Trump even called Kraft every week for a year to console him after his wife Myra's death in 2011, the Patriots owner told the New York Daily News in 2017.

'When Myra died, Melania and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,' Kraft said. 'Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.'

Trump later said he was surprised when Kraft was charged with solicitation of prostitution in 2019.  

'Well, it's very sad,' Trump told reporters. 'I was very surprised to see it. He's proclaimed his innocence totally, but I'm very surprised to see it.' 

Charges against Kraft were ultimately dropped when a court ruled video evidence was inadmissible in court. However, Kraft did publicly apologize over the incident. 

'I am truly sorry,' Kraft said in a statement. '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.' 

Trump shakes hands with Kraft during an event honoring the 2017 Super Bowl champions

Trump shakes hands with Kraft during an event honoring the 2017 Super Bowl champions 

Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' to Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop congressional probe into Patriots' Spygate scandal - but the ex-President and team owner Robert Kraft deny the claim Donald Trump is accused of offering 'a lot of money' to Senator Arlen Specter in 2008 to drop congressional probe into Patriots' Spygate scandal - but the ex-President and team owner Robert Kraft deny the claim Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:07 Rating: 5

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