NY ‘madam’ in web plea for bail cash
Anna Gristina’s family is appealing for online donations to secure her release from jail, claiming she is living under “horrific” conditions in a rat-infested cell in New York.
The 44-year-old, from Kirkliston, has been imprisoned on remand following her arrest on February 22 for promoting prostitution.
The alleged madam has been accused of supplying £1,500-a-night prostitutes to affluent clients in Manhattan and is said to have made up to $10m, taking 40 percent of her escorts’ fees.
Gristina left Scotland for America at the age of 17 following the death of her father.
On the site, www.helpanna.org, her treatment in New York’s Rikers Island prison is described as “cruel”.
Her husband Kelvin Gorr said: “The kids are distraught. There’s Mother’s Day, the prom, graduation all coming up. She should be out. These are once-in-a-lifetime things that she’s missing because of an unjust bail.
“I started the website in hopes of raising enough capital to get my wife out of jail.”
The website claims she is being kept in “horrific” conditions fit for a “war criminal” with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees Farenheit.
“Rats and roaches scurry all around her,” it reads.
An emotional plea from her children – Suzanna, 24, Noelaine, 21, Stefano, 15, and nine-year-old Nicholas – reads: “We have created our website to tell you our story, about how much we miss our mom, and what you can do to bring her back to us.
“There is never a day, a morning, an hour, a minute that goes by that we don’t miss our mother.
“To us, she is the woman who we call for when we are sick, who goes to our school plays and soccer games, who smiles in our eyes.
“She is Mom. We need our Mom here. Without her, part of our family’s missing.”
It adds: “While she waits for her case to be heard, she should be home with us. She hasn’t been convicted of anything.”
The website urges readers to contact politicians and send in donations. It has been reported the family is set to appear on US TV chat show Entertainment Tonight.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has refused to budge on Gristina’s hefty bail of £1.2 million bond or £615,000 cash over fears she could pose a flight risk.
Five others connected to the vice ring case were released on significantly lower bail or none at all, it has been reported.
Gristina’s lawyer Gary Greenwald has described the bond as “outrageous” and beyond what is required of gangsters, drug dealers and murderers.
It has been reported Gristina is considering pleading guilty to a single charge of promoting prostitution which carries a maximum one-year sentence.