Anna Gristina, the so-called "Manhattan Madam" who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in September but never admitted to running the multimillion-dollar sex ring that Manhattan prosecutors claimed, left court a free woman Tuesday after being sentenced to time she had already served while held on bail.
But even before Gristina could leave court, released from her six-month sentence to 5 years' probation, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.'s spokeswoman released a statement calling her "a pimp" -- leading to verbal barbs from her attorney, Norman Pattis.
"There is nothing glamorous about prostitution," Vance press secretary Erin Duggan said in her statement Tuesday, adding: "Anna Gristina rented women's bodies for profit, which makes her a pimp. That also makes her a felon, and the court has now issued that judgment. She has no one to blame but herself for her decisions."
Both Gristina, 44, a mother from upstate Monroe, and Pattis, who regularly portrayed his client as a victim of overzealous prosecutors who demanded a $2 million bail based on charges they couldn't prove, seemed stunned by the statement.
"When are they [prosecutors] going to apologize to Ms. Gristina for the allegations they made in court that they were never able to prove?" Pattis asked. "That he [Vance] would resort to name-calling is outrageous."
When she was first arrested in February, Gristina was charged with setting up a sexual encounter at an East Side town house between an undercover cop and two women. Prosecutors said she had been under investigation for five years, had bragged on wiretaps about servicing rich movers and shakers, and having protection inside law enforcement.
A British citizen and permanent resident in the United States, she was held at Rikers Island for four months on $2 million bail as a flight risk, as prosecutors pressured her to spill information on her ring. She wouldn't.
She pleaded guilty to the one act of promoting prostitution. The 4 months she served, together with good time credits, was equivalent to her 6-month sentence. As a felon, she also could face deportation by the federal government.
Judge Juan Merchan asked Gristina if she wanted to say anything before being sentenced. "It's probably better, your honor, that I don't," she responded.
Outside court, Gristina said, "There's going to be a book. I think the title will be, 'Read It and Weep.' " She pledged to donate any book profits to animal rescue. Asked what she had learned from her encounter with the criminal justice system, she said, "The system is more corrupt than the Mafia."
Her husband, Kelvin Gorr, said that Gristina had initially resisted pleading guilty but was at peace with her decision.
"It was the best outcome for the family," he said.