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Lawyer: Accused NYC madam 'doesn't have 2 nickels to rub together'

From Michael Teng, CNN
updated 7:09 PM EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Anna Gristina sits next to attorney Peter Gleason in the State Supreme Court in New York City on Monday.
Anna Gristina sits next to attorney Peter Gleason in the State Supreme Court in New York City on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A lawyer offers his NYC loft in lieu of a $2 million bail so Anna Gristina can get out of jail
  • A hearing will be held Thursday to consider that proposal
  • Gristina, 44, is accused of running an escort service for high-powered clientele
  • Her two legal representatives are at odds during Monday's hearing

New York (CNN) -- A lawyer for a woman accused of being a high-end New York madam said Monday his client "doesn't have two nickels to rub together," and offered his own loft as bail so the mother of four could get out of jail.

Judge Juan Merchan will weigh the proposal made by the attorney, Peter Gleason, which would mandate that Anna Gristina be confined to Gleason's apartment and have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet.

A hearing is set for Thursday to consider this offer, which prosecutors oppose.

For now, Gristina, 44, remains behind bars with her bail set at $2 million bond or $1 million cash.

She was arrested on February 22 and has been charged with promoting prostitution in the third degree. She is suspected of running a multimillion-dollar escort service for high-powered clientele out of an apartment in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The judge ruled Monday that, given her financial situation as portrayed by Gleason, Gristina can continue to have a public defender.

That means public funds can be used to pay her court-appointed attorney, Richard Siracusa. Gleason, who is a friend of Gristina's, is representing her pro bono, or free of charge.

Merchan, the judge, denied Gristina's request to replace Siracusa as one of her representatives.

He and Gleason butted heads during Monday's court hearing.

Gleason complained that Siracusa had not visited Gristina at New York's well-known Rikers Island jail complex, while Gleason countered that he'd visited their mutual client "seven or eight times." Siracusa, meanwhile, accused Gleason of hindering his own efforts.

The judge made it clear Monday that Siracusa will be Gristina's public defender and criminal attorney, while Gleason would represent her in other matters.

Last Tuesday, a New York judge denied a request to reduce Gristina's bail.

That same day, a Morgan Stanley broker was placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation into Gristina, according to company spokesman Mark Lake.

Prosecutors say Gristina was with the broker in his Manhattan office shortly before her arrest. They say the two were there to discuss the creation of a website that arranges illicit encounters.

The broker, whom CNN is not naming because he has not been charged with a crime, said they were in talks to create a website for a legitimate dating service.

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