NBC 4 New York
On Tuesday, Manhattan's so-called "Millionaire Madam" pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution as part of a plea deal. The surprise twist in the high-profile case is far from the outcome prosecutors once expected. Ida Siegal reports.
The suburban mother of four accused of running an upscale escort service in Manhattan has pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday.
Anna Gristina, 44, of Monroe, N.Y., pleaded guilty to a single count of promoting prostitution, stemming from a July 2011 tryst she allegedly arranged involving two women and an undercover officer posing as a client.
Besieged by reporters outside the courthouse, Gristina said she felt "better" after the plea deal, and that she was "stunned."
Her husband Kelvin Gorr told NBC 4 New York, "I'm very pleased with the decision. I'm not gonna go to Disney World, but I'm still very happy."
Gristina will be ordered to serve five years of probation when she's sentenced on Nov. 20. The four months she's already spent behind bars will count toward the jail portion of her sentence, and she won't have to serve any additional time.
The judge warned Gristina, a legal U.S .resident from Scotland, she could be subject to deportation.
Gristina was briefly reprimanded by the judge for bringing her young son to court Tuesday.
"I am not happy that Ms. Gristina's young child is in the courtroom today," the judge said. "It's not appropriate. I don't see the purpose in it. I don't see the benefits in exposing him to this."
Prosecutors said their 5-year investigation revealed Gristina 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 has maintained she was merely starting a dating service.
Former federal prosecutor Brad Simon, who had no involvement in the case, speculated prosecutors in Gristina's case were "disappointed if not embarassed."
"With all the fanfare about this case, at the end of the day, there doesn't appear to have been very much there at all," he said.
Gristina was arrested Feb. 22 and was held for months on $2 million bond. An appeals court in June called the amount "unreasonable and an abuse of discretion" and lowered it.
She was released on $250,000 bond in June after four months behind bars.
Gristina's lawyer unsuccessfully tried to have the case thrown out in August, arguing that the DA's office "vindictively prosecuted her as a result of her failure to cooperate with investigators" during what he called an illegal interrogation.
The DA's office countered in court papers that Gristina "has not produced a shred of evidence of actual vindictiveness."
Jaynie Baker, accused of assisting Gristina as a matchmaking recruiter, struck a deal with prosecutors in August.