Alleged Manhattan ‘Madam’ Switches Legal Teams Again; Still Stuck At Rikers
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The alleged Upper East Side “madam” has made another another change of lawyers, making it her fourth legal legal team.
But will the new team help her get out of Rikers Island, where she is being held on what some say is an unusually high bail?
Attorney Norman Pattis is the just latest in what some are calling “lawyerpalooza.” Accused brothel bigwig Anna Gristina has now had nine different lawyers at her side during one proceeding or another, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.
“I think she has the right to choose the attorney that she wishes to under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” said Peter Gleason, a former Gristina lawyer.
Gleason was attorney number two. He entered the case soon after the mother of four was busted for allegedly running a high-class big money brothel out of an Upper East Side building.
She continues to be stuck in Rikers, unable to make the $2 million bail.
Court observer John Knox told Aiello he think Gristina’s bail is unusually high.
“I think it’s a travesty of justice, and I spent most of my life in law enforcement,” Knox said.
When Michael Pena was charged with a gunpoint rape, his bail was set at $500,000. That bail amount was the same for Michael Enright, who was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. The accused “East Side Groper’s” bail was $150,000.
All those Manhattan court bails were lower than the amount for Gristina, who faces a single count of promoting prostitution.
“I know there’s more to it than meets the eye. I think they want to see what’s in those books she allegedly has,” said Knox, a retired investigator.
The district attorney has insisted the high bail is to keep her from fleeing, and said Gristina is heard on tape “Bragging about her ability and willingness to flee at the first sign of trouble.”
Meanwhile, an appeals court will hold a hearing in early June to decide if Gristina’s bail should be lowered.
Gristina’s husband set up a website to raise money for her release. He told CBS 2 that the effort is “going okay.”
What do you make of yet another legal team change for Gristina? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…