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New York madam pleads guilty to running prostitution ring

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 9:57 AM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
Anna Gristina, who has been accused in what's become known as the
Anna Gristina, who has been accused in what's become known as the "Manhattan Madam" case, pleaded guilty to one count of prostitution in the third degree.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anna Gristina, 44, arrested February 22, charged with promoting prostitution
  • Gristina pleads guilty and is sentenced to 6 months
  • She has already served that time so now faces 5 years probation

New York (CNN) -- The alleged madam for a high-priced escort service in Manhattan pleaded guilty to one count of prostitution in the third degree on Tuesday, according to Manhattan District Attorney spokeswoman Joan Vollero.

Anna Gristina, 44, was sentenced to time served and will get five years probation. She was arrested February 22 and had pleaded not guilty to charges of promoting prostitution. She was accused of running the ring out of an Upper East Side apartment.

When asked by New York Judge Juan Merchan in court whether she knowingly profited from prostitution by managing, supervising, controlling and owning a prostitution business, Gristina answered affirmatively, according to the District Attorney's Office.

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

In the courtroom with alleged NY Madam

Gristina had allegedly made numerous claims that she had connections with the New York Police Department, the FBI, the governor's office and the District Attorney's Office, among others. "We have not found evidence to support any of those claims. We are left with a straightforward promoting prostitution case," Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan read in court on Tuesday, "a defendant who ran a brothel for many years and who profited from the sex trade. That is all."

"It became apparent to Anna that we could only win (at trial) by hurting people she cares about," Gristina's attorney Norm Pattis said. "Anna chose love over the ordeal of a trial."

Merchan said Gristina will be officially sentenced on November 20 to six months in jail, but because she has already served several months at Rikers Island Prison, "this essentially amounts to time served followed by probation," according to the District Attorney's Office.

Alleged co-conspirator pleads not guilty

CNN's Michael Teng contributed to this story.

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