Upper East Side ‘Madam’ Anna Gristina Pleads Guilty To Single Count Of Promoting Prostitution
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The woman infamously jailed after being accused of running a brothel out of a Manhattan apartment admitted wrongdoing in court on Tuesday.
Anna Gristina, the so-called Upper East Side “madam,” pleaded guilty to a single count of promoting prostitution in the 3rd degree, which is a class D felony, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
The sentence will amount to time served plus five years probation for her guilty plea stemming from a sting involving an undercover cop and two prostitutes.
When the judge asked Gristina if she set up the liaison at the Upper East Side apartment she controlled and if she financially profited from it, she answered “Yes sir.”
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Reports
Gristina likely won’t have to spend another day at Rikers Island under the deal, which her lawyer called a victory.
“We’re not going to trial and that is probably a personal regret of mine, but a lawyer’s job is to make choices that a client can live with. We’re delighted that Miss Gristina was given a choice she can live with,” attorney Norman Pattis said.
In February, prosecutors charged Gristina with a single count of promoting prostitution after getting a tip alleging she was running a high-priced prostitution ring that racked up millions of dollars in profits out of an apartment on East 78th Street.
Gristina, who is a legal U.S. resident originally from Scotland, has been free on bail since June after spending nearly four months behind bars. The judge told her that she does face the possibility of deportation.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
The judge also scolded Gristina during the plea hearing, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, specifically admonishing her for bringing her 9-year-old son to court given the circumstances of the case.
“I am not happy that she brought her young child to this courtroom today. It shows poor judgment. There’s no purpose to it,” the judge told Gristina.
The plea also comes just a few weeks after Gristina appeared on the “Dr. Phil” television show. During the appearance, she maintained her innocence.
Dr. Phil: “You say there’s absolutely, unequivocally nothing to that allegation whatsoever.”
Gristina: “None, nothing, on my children’s life, on my children’s life.”
Gristina told the TV talk show host she thought the case against her was just a conspiracy by the prosecutors to get her to divulge information about somebody else. But she did not mention who prosecutors wanted information about.
With her hooker booker Jaynie Mae Baker and others reaching plea deals and ready to testify against their former employer at trial, Gristina took the plea, though her lawyer claimed she only did it to protect certain people.
“It became apparent in the course of discussions with the state that to successfully defend this case, would have required permitting me to hurt people close to Miss Gristina given the anticipated course of evidence, and rather than hurt those people, Miss Gristina has elected to end this fight,” Pattis told reporters, including CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
And so the legal fight that began with February’s arrest and led to her stay on Riker’s Island ended with a plea. Gristina’s secrets remained secrets, and she a big thank you to her lawyer.
“I owe you my life forever and ever and ever,” Gristina said.
She will be sentenced Nov. 20.