Scotswoman accused of moonlighting as a Manhattan madam freed from prison
A SCOTS mother charged with moonlighting as a big-city madam was released from a US jail on bond, after four months behind bars in a case surrounded by claims of prominent clients and law-enforcement protectors.
Anna Gristina, originally from Kirkliston, West Lothian, walked out of a Manhattan courthouse, free for the first time since her February arrest.
She was accompanied by her husband and their 9-year-old son.
“Thank you, everybody - I just want to be with my family tonight, please,” she said as they made their way through a crush of news photographers.
The Scotland-born Gristina, 44, is a mother of four who tends to rescued pigs at her home in Monroe, New York.
But prosecutors said she also was the madam of a sex service for 15 years, making millions of dollars and boasting that she had contacts in law enforcement who could tip her off if she was about to get busted.
Gristina has insisted she was merely starting a matchmaking service, not associated with prostitutes. She has pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution, a low-level felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Gristina was arrested on February 22 as she left a fundraising meeting at a friend’s Morgan Stanley office, where she had been trying to raise money for her business, prosecutors say.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan initially ordered her to be jailed on two million US dollars bond and declined requests to reduce it.
But an appeals court called the amount “unreasonable and an abuse of discretion” and lowered it to 250,000 US dollars on June 12. A judge signed off on arrangements for the bond package yesterday.
Gristina left court wearing a grey sweater, electric blue warm-up trousers, an electronic ankle monitor.
“The nightmare of her bond ends today, and trial preparation begins tomorrow morning,” said her lawyer, Norman Pattis, adding that they were looking forward to “when we walk out of this courtroom when we hear a verdict of ‘not guilty’.”
Gristina will be allowed to leave her home, Mr Judelson said, adding that he would set exact parameters in the days to come.
She is due back in court on August 17.
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