'Madam' lawyer offers home bail
A lawyer for an accused big-money madam is not just offering legal arguments to get her out of jail - he is ready to offer her his home.
In the latest eye-catching turn in the case surrounding Anna Gristina, lawyer Peter J Gleason said he had put up his 2.5 million dollar (£1.6 million) Manhattan loft as security for her two million dollar bail (£1.28 million) and to have her be under house arrest and electronic monitored there with her family.
His offer came as he and her court-appointed lawyer Richard Siracusa sparred publicly over Gleason's role in the case.
"I really have a fundamental belief in justice, and I despise what I perceive as someone being bullied," Gleason said outside court, where a judge set a hearing for Thursday on the unusual bail plan. "I want them to move in with me."
Prosecutors oppose the bail request, saying it raises ethical questions.
"There is serious concern (about) having a lawyer put up any sort of bail, much less his home," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan told the court.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said he was not convinced there was an ethics problem but wanted to research the issue further.
Accused of running a high-priced prostitution service for 15 years and boasting of having law-enforcement connections, the Scottish-born Gristina has pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution.
Prosecutors say the 44-year-old mother of four who grew up in the village of Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, was heard during their five-year investigation saying she'd made millions of dollars. Gleason, however, said she does not have "two nickels to rub together". She was trying to start a legitimate dating service, he says.
Gleason told the judge that Gristina, of Monroe, New York, wanted Siracusa off the case - and, moreover, wanted the highly unusual privilege of picking a taxpayer-paid replacement. He said: "She's an intelligent, stoic, strong-willed person who has very, very sound ideas on the type of person she wants to represent her."