“I think the facts will come out that that is not the case and I would not be here today if I thought there was the slightest inclination of that,” said defense attorney Peter Gleason.
The defense slammed tabloid headlines such as “DA: Underage girls used,” but there’s no denying the prosecutor talked at Gristina’s first court appearance about a sexual encounter with minors present.
“One of the prostitutes that came in to talk to us had said that she was present for this encounter that was arranged by the defendant and that she was particularly upset because there were underage actors involved,” said prosecutor Charles Linehan.
This raised the possibility that underage men visited the alleged East Side brothel as clients.
“In my experience, I’ve had 17 and 18-year-old men call and try to book appointments,” said former madam Kristin Davis.
Davis believes that’s why an upscale prostitute would tell cops she was “upset.” “The girls don’t want to see young guys like that, it makes them feel uncomfortable,” she explained.
It’s also interesting to note there is no mention of underage prostitutes in the indictment, which you would expect if the women were under the age of 19.
“There’s something missing here and I’m hoping we get to the bottom of it,” said Gleason.
The defense says it will challenge the prosecutor to clarify his comments about who exactly was underage.
Gristina is being held on an unusually high bond of $2 million. She’s expected back in court next week so a judge can decide if she qualifies for a public defender.
“People do things and you just never know,” Anna James of Midwood told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
“It’s just crazy it could end up being any person walking down the street,” said Danielle Fabian of the Upper West Side.
Psychologist Harris Stratyner says greed may have fueled Gristina’s alleged “double life,” a public persona of responsible, small-town mom and accused big city madam raking in millions with high class prostitution.
“And people can divide themselves in to two,” he said. “Living a life where danger, excitement, espionage so to speak, secrecy, and money all go together and they are all an aphrodisiac.”
Stratyner speculates she is both narcissist and exhibitionist, but one who values always being seen as a good mother.
“She knew how to be a mommy. She extrapolated her skills from being a soccer mom and applied them to her prostitutes and became their mother,” he said.
Gristina’s story will move beyond the headlines to book, movie and TV deals.
Dr. Stratyner looks at Gristina’s expressions in court and sees a 44-year-old woman he considers deeply, clinically depressed.
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