Anna Gristina, accused 'Manhattan Madam,' free on bond after four months in jail
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Accused "Manhattan Madam" Anna Gristina was released from jail on bond Tuesday after serving four months behind bars based on allegations that she was running a high-end escort service in Manhattan.
"Thank you, everybody - I just want to be with my family tonight, please," Gristina said as she walked out of Manhattan Criminal Court to her husband and 9-year-old son, who arrived with a bouquet of red roses for his mother..
Prosecutors said the Scotland-born mother of four was also the madam of an upscale sex service for 15 years, making millions of dollars and boasting of contacts in law enforcement who could tip her off if she was about to get busted.
Gristina, 44, pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution, a low-level felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, saying that she was merely starting a matchmaking service and not peddling prostitutes.
Police arrested Gristina on Feb. 22 as she left a fundraising meeting at a friend's Morgan Stanley office, where she'd been trying to raise money for her business, prosecutors said.
A woman accused of helping Gristina run the alleged escort service, two alleged prostitutes and an accused money-launderer were also arrested in the case.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan initially ordered her jailed on $2 million bond, but an appeals court called the amount "unreasonable and an abuse of discretion" and lowered it to $250,000 on June 12.
Gristina's 9-year-old son was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur, according to court papers her lawyer filed earlier this month to press her case for lower bail.
Since then, Gristina's supporters gathered to put money together for her bail, especially after she declined an offer from one of her former lawyers who was willing to put up his Manhattan loft apartment as collateral.
A family friend put up property for Gristina's bond, bail bondsman Ira Judelson said Tuesday. He and defense attorney Norman Pattis declined to give specifics. A judge signed off on bail arrangements on Tuesday.
Gristina is due back in court on Aug. 17.
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