A SCOTS mother fighting charges that she ran a multi-million-dollar prostitution ring in New York has been dealt a blow after it emerged a former colleague accused of being an accomplice is set to give evidence against her.
Anna Gristina, 44, originally from Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, has denied allegations she was Madam of a Manhattan vice ring, supplying £1500-a-night prostitutes to affluent clients, and insists she was merely starting a matchmaking service. Now co-accused Jaynie Mae Baker has reached a plea deal with prosecutors which legal sources say will see her give evidence against Gristina.
Baker was due to appear in court alongside Gristina today for their first joint appearance, but Baker’s court date has now been put back until October.
Gristina’s lawyer, Norman Pattis, said: “All I know is that neither she nor her counsel will be appearing. That suggests she cut a deal.”
Gristina, who is being held in New York’s Rikers Island jail, left Scotland for America at the age of 17 following her father’s death.
She was arrested earlier this year after an undercover operation by police. It is claimed that she had a black book listing the names of dozens of rich bankers and other high-profile clients. Baker was said to have been a key part of the alleged escort agency.
The maximum sentence in the case would be seven years in jail.
In return for giving evidence against Gristina, Baker could avoid jail and receive a suspended sentence instead.
But Gristina was reportedly unconcerned when told about her former colleague’s deal with prosecutors. She said: “She’s a good girl, she doesn’t deserve to be involved in this.”
In an interview with US media last month, Gristina said she might return to the UK once her case is over. She sad: “I might elect to go to my homeland. I don’t know if I want to live here any more. The justice system is not like it is in Europe, where there’s right and wrong and there are boundaries.
“Here, the district attorney can pluck you off the street, make an allegation and you are guilty until proven innocent. You can indict and put a ham sandwich in jail if you choose. It’s not like the UK.”
She spoke of how she “loves my home country” and was “appreciative” of the interest shown in Scotland about her case.
However, she said that if she did return to the UK she would probably settle in London rather than returning to Scotland.