Judge sets trial date set in Manhattan madam case
Anna Gristina, left, walks alongside her lawyer, Norman Pattis, after leaving Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (AP / John Minchillo)
Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 1:39PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:59PM EDT
NEW YORK -- A suburban mother charged with running an upscale escort service in New York City is headed for trial after a judge declined Thursday to throw out the case.
Anna Gristina's case has been spiced with prosecutors' claims that she had a roster of wealthy, well-placed clients and boasted of law enforcement connections during 15 years in a business that made her millions. She says she was merely starting a dating service.
The judge set an Oct. 15 trial date.
Gristina is charged with a single count of promoting prostitution, related to a July 2011 tryst she allegedly arranged involving two women and an undercover officer posing as a client. The judge warned that the trial wouldn't become a sprawling airing of prosecutors' five-year investigation.
Released on $250,000 bond late in June after four months behind bars, a cheerful-looking Gristina arrived with her husband and three of her four children for a court date that came days after news that an alleged accomplice has struck a deal with prosecutors.
Co-defendant Jaynie Baker, a former matchmaking recruiter charged with helping Gristina peddle prostitutes, has reached a deal to resolve her case, a person familiar with the case said earlier this week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been aired in court. Baker wasn't in court Thursday and isn't due back until Oct. 2.
The Manhattan district attorney's office and Baker's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, have declined to comment.
Asked outside court whether she was concerned about Baker potentially testifying against her, Gristina said she wasn't. Her lawyer, Norman Pattis, said he doesn't believe Baker has any harmful information.
Gristina was arrested Feb. 22 as she left a friend's Morgan Stanley office after a fundraising meeting for her business, prosecutors say.
In trying to get the case dismissed, Pattis wrote that the DA's office "vindictively prosecuted her as a result of her failure to co-operate with investigators" during what he called an illegal interrogation.
Gristina said in court papers that investigators shrugged off her requests for a lawyer and told her they'd let her go if she gave them information about five men -- not named in her filings, but described as a financier, an international banker and a member of a politically connected family, among others.
The DA's office countered in court papers that Gristina "has not produced a shred of evidence of actual vindictiveness."
The judge's ruling didn't address the way Gristina was questioned.