Thursday 27 November 2014

British madam walks free from jail

Published 20/11/2012 | 18:29

Anna Gristina at Manhattan criminal court in New York (AP)

A British mother who boasted of moonlighting as a multimillion-dollar Manhattan madam has walked free from jail after being sentenced to time served.

Anna Gristina, 45, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty in September to promoting prostitution.

The story made headlines when New York prosecutors said mother-of-four Gristina, formerly from Edinburgh, boasted of having a roster of wealthy, well-placed clients and law enforcement connections during 15 years in the business.

After an investigation, it became clear she was simply running a brothel and profiting from it. "We are left with a straightforward promoting prostitution case - a defendant who ran a brothel for many years and who profited from the sex trade. That is all," assistant district attorney Charles Linehan said during the plea.

Gristina's lawyers said their client lived on a 12-acre property in Monroe, about 50 miles north of New York City, and rescued animals and helped abandoned pet pigs find new homes. She initially claimed to be merely running a dating service.

But she pleaded guilty to a single count of promoting prostitution, stemming from a July 2011 tryst that authorities say she arranged involving two women and an undercover police officer posing as a client named Anthony.

Manhattan district attorney spokeswoman Erin Duggan said Gristina had no-one to blame but herself. "There is nothing glamorous about prostitution. Anna Gristina rented women's bodies for profit, which makes her a pimp. That also makes her a felon, and the court has now issued that judgment," she said.

Despite the guilty plea, Gristina claimed publicly that she never crossed the line and instead blamed others charged in the case for turning on her.

Her family smiled and laughed outside court, glad the case was finished. "It's a sense of relief that it's over, we can move on," said Gristina's husband, Kelvin Gorr. "This was in the best interest of the kids, just to start over and move on, and that's it."

Gristina, who plans to write a tell-all book, could now be deported, but defence lawyer Norman Pattis said he would fight any attempt to remove her from the US.

Press Association

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