Anna Gristina pleads guilty in prostitution case

Anna Gristina exits Manhattan Criminal Court with her Anna Gristina exits Manhattan Criminal Court with her son, Nicholas. (Aug. 16, 2012) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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The Monroe mom accused of running a high-priced Manhattan call girl ring pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of promoting prostitution and will be sentenced to jail time already served -- four months spent on Rikers Island following her February arrest.

After months of denials, Anna Gristina, 44, entered the plea in Manhattan Supreme Court, one month before she was to go to trial on charges that could have sent her to prison for seven years.

Gristina will be sentenced Nov. 20, when Judge Juan Merchan said he will sentence Gristina to time served and probation.

The judge warned that the Scottish-born Gristina could still face deportation. Prosecutors have claimed that Gristina made millions of dollars from wealthy clients, including financiers and lawyers, from the 15 years she ran a prostitution ring out of an Upper East Side apartment. Gristina said she was running a dating service.

She was charged with a single count of promoting prostitution, related to a July 2011 incident when she arranged a rendezvous between two women and an undercover police officer, prosecutors said.

With her bail set at $2 million, Gristina served four months in Rikers Island following her Feb. 22 arrest. Her bail was reduced to $250,000 after a state appellate court unanimously ruled that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan "abused his discretion" by setting the bail at $2 million. She was released in June and reunited with her husband and four children at her Monroe home, where she cares for rescued potbellied pigs.

Gristina might have felt growing pressure to plead guilty after Jaynie Mae Baker, 30, a co-defendant in the case, reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid serving a prison sentence. Speculation quickly surfaced that Baker would testify against Gristina in the trial.

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