NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The woman accused of being a Manhattan madam is hoping you will help bail her out of jail.
The website helpanna.org is soliciting donations to raise enough money to bail Anna Gristina out of Rikers Island. The site also claims she’s been subject to harsh conditions in prison, but the Department of Correction contends it’s all untrue.
Gristina, who resides in Monroe, N.Y., is accused of running a brothel out of an Upper East Side building on East 78th Street with help from police.
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
However, the website paints Gristina as a victim, saying she has been subject to intolerable conditions.
In a section on the site titled “The Injustice,” the argument is made that Gristina’s bail is “cruel and unusual,” adding that “Real criminals, such as alleged rapists, murders and child molesters have been required to pay less bail than she.”
The page also alleges that Gristina has been forced to endure conditions fit for a “war-criminal.” The site states that the alleged madam has been kept in “solitary confinement” in a room “where the temperatures exceed over 100 degrees.”
“Rats and roaches scurry all around her. The authorities humiliated her further by attempting to make her wear only a t-shirt and diaper. So much pain is being inflicted on a woman who has not been convicted, who according to America’s own justice system, deserves to be treated innocent unless proven guilty.”
New York City Department of Correction spokeswoman Sharman Stein told 1010 WINS on Wednesday night that “all of the allegations that are being made are untrue.”
“This is not solitary confinement. It is not punishment. It is protective custody, a single-cell housing, as is true for many other inmates in the system and for all high-profile inmates,” Stein said.
On the website’s homepage reads a message stating that the mother of four has not been convicted of anything:
“Today, Mom is in jail, awaiting the trail. The thing is, while she waits for her case to be heard, she should be home with us. It’s not fair that she doesn’t get to be with her family during this time – she hasn’t been convicted of anything.
“We need our Mom here. Without her, part of our family’s life is missing.”
Prosecutors have said that Gristina has relied on several law enforcement sources over the years to tip her off when investigators were getting close. She even allegedly fled to Montreal around 2008.
Stating that the “small family” can’t afford the $2 million bail, the website pleads for people to donate to get Gristina out of jail and back home with her family.
Kelvin Gorr, Gristina’s husband, spoke exclusively to Kevin Frazier of “The Insider” in an interview that will air Thursday night on CBS 2.
Frazier also said that for the first time Gorr admitted he and his wife were running a matchmaking service in which no money was exchanged.
However, prosecutors have said the 44-year-old has been working as a high-class madam for more than 15 years, amassing millions of dollars and dozens of high-profile contacts around the world in the process.
The website also urges people to write to their representatives in Congress and help by sending a non tax-exempt donation to “Help Anna.”
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