Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

US may deport madam charge Briton

Anna Gristina exits Manhattan Criminal Court after admitting a charge of promoting prostitution (AP)
Anna Gristina exits Manhattan Criminal Court after admitting a charge of promoting prostitution (AP)

A British mother accused of running a multimillion-dollar escort service in New York City could face deportation after admitting a charge of promoting prostitution.

US prosecutors said Anna Gristina, who is originally from Edinburgh but now lives in Monroe, New York, as a legal US citizen, was the madam of a Manhattan sex service for 15 years.

The 45-year-old has said previously that she was merely starting a matchmaking service, not peddling call girls, and admitted the single charge of promoting prostitution as part of a plea deal at Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday.

It stems from an incident in July 2011, in which authorities say she arranged a tryst between two women and an undercover police officer posing as a client. Gristina spent four months in jail before being released on a 250,000 US dollars (£154,000) bond in June. The judge said she will be sentenced on November 20 and that she could also be deported.

Gristina lives on a 12-acre property in Monroe, which is about 50 miles (80km) north of New York City, and is said to have spent time helping abandoned pet pigs find new homes. Prosecutors alleged that she made millions from the business, which was said to have had a roster of wealthy clients.

Co-accused Jaynie Baker, a former matchmaking recruiter charged with helping Gristina set up sexual encounters, reached a deal to resolve her case. Baker, 31, is due back in court on October 2.

Gristina was arrested on February 22 as she left a friend's office after a fundraising meeting for her business, prosecutors said.

In trying to get the case dismissed, her lawyer, Norman Pattis, wrote that the district attorney'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 would 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 district attorney's office said in court papers that Gristina "has not produced a shred of evidence of actual vindictiveness".

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