Friday 13 December 2019

Face of suburban New York mum accused of running high class prostitution ring from her home

Anna Gristina appears in State Supreme Court in New York
Anna Gristina appears in State Supreme Court in New York
From left, Attorney Norman Pattis, Investigator Vincent Parco, Attorneys Daniel Geller and Peter Gleason, are photographed in the hallway of Manhattan Supreme court after a hearing for Anna Gristina. Photo: Reuters

Mark Hughes in New York

AN ALLEGED 'madam' who is accused of running a high-class prostitution ring from her home in upstate New York has made an attempt to dismiss her legal team and be represented instead by a group of lawyers which includes Uri Geller's son.

In the latest bizarre twist in her case, Scottish-born Anna Gristina attempted to have Daniel Geller, the son of the famous 'psychic', appointed as one of a new three-man legal team.

Mr Geller, whose father was a close friend of the pop star Michael Jackson, told the court that he was only admitted as a lawyer in the state of New York six weeks ago and has been working as an intern at the Kings County District Attorney's office.

Mrs Gristina, a 44-year-old mother-of-four from Edinburgh, was arrested in February accused of running a multi-million dollar brothel for the past 15 years while living a double live as a 'soccer mom'.

She has been held in a US prison since her arrest and has repeatedly complained about her bail, saying that at $2 million (£1.2 million) it is too high.

At a hearing on Wednesday she attempted to have her legal team sacked and have a new team, which includes Mr Geller, appointed.

The judge, Juan Merchan, at Manhattan Supreme Court, refused to grant the application until a further hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

He said he was concerned that the man Mrs Gristina wants to lead the new legal team, Norm Pattis, is not licensed as an attorney in New York.

The judge was also apparently perturbed at the attempt to have Mr Geller, 31, on the legal team, suggesting he was not experienced enough.

Mr Merchan said: "He [Mr Pattis] is going to be assisted in this by someone whose experience is a few months interning."

Mr Geller, whose father became famous for his ability to bend spoons apparently with his mind, told the court that he had "practised as a barrister in England and Wales for approximately four years," but has only been a member of the New York bar since March 26.

Another member of Mrs Gristina's proposed legal team, Peter Gleason, spoke in praise of Mr Geller, who is said to have worked as an attorney in California most recently, saying: "his research was impeccable."

Mr Geller, who now lives in New York, confirmed that his father was Uri Geller when asked by the Daily Telegraph. But he declined to say how he had become involved in Mrs Gristina's case.

An online profile of Mr Geller said that he was a pupil at Carmelite Chambers and New Court Chambers and also worked at Staple Inn Chambers.

It says he attended the London School of Economics and the Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg.

Uri Geller’s website says that he decided to support Exeter City, a team which he later became chairman of, because Daniel believes he had a past life in Exeter.

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