New York Madam

March 8, 2012 by staff 

New York Madam, Defence attorneys for a New York woman jailed on a seven-figure bail on a single charge of promoting prostitution said their client is a target of an unfairly sensationalized case.

Anna Gristina’s lawyers described her Tuesday as a dedicated suburban mom, animal rescuer and former real estate broker who was working on building an online dating service.

But prosecutors contend she’s an arrogant, multimillion-dollar madam who boasted of ties to law enforcement and stashed cash to flee if authorities tried to close in on her.

“A caring mother of four has been slapped with a $2 million bond” one of her lawyers, Peter J. Gleason, said after a judge refused Tuesday to lower the bail.

The bespectacled, 44-year-old Scottish immigrant looked glum and tried to turn away from the news cameras clustered in the courtroom for her brief appearance. She was arrested Feb. 22, but news of the case broke with a splash Monday. She has pleaded not guilty.

A legal U.S. resident originally from the Scottish Highlands, Gristina maintains a home for rescued animals, said another of her lawyers, Richard Siracusa. She’s never been in legal trouble before and has surrendered her passport, he said, but has a bail that would denote “a heinous criminal.”

But state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said “the risk of flight seems significant” in Gristina’s case.

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