A suburban mother charged with moonlighting as a big-city escort madam has been released from jail on bond, after four months behind bars in a case laced with claims of prominent clients and law-enforcement protectors.
Anna Gristina, originally from Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, walked out of a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday night, free for the first time since her February arrest, albeit wearing an ankle bracelet. Earlier in the day, a judge signed off on arrangements for her 250,000 US dollar (£160,000) bond package.
"We are delighted to see Anna reunited with her family," her lawyer, Norman Pattis, said in an email.
Gristina's husband and her nine-year-old son were at the courthouse to greet her, the son with a bouquet of flowers.
Gristina, 44, is a mother of four who tends to rescued pigs at her home in Monroe, New York. But prosecutors say she also was the madam of an upscale sex service for 15 years, making millions of dollars and boasting that she had contacts in law enforcement who could tip her off if she was about to get busted.
Gristina has said she was merely starting a matchmaking service, not peddling prostitutes. She has pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution, a low-level felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Gristina was arrested on February 22 as she left a fundraising meeting at a friend's Morgan Stanley office, where she'd been trying to raise money for her business, prosecutors say.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan initially ordered her jailed on two million bond (£1.28 million) and declined requests to reduce it. But an appeals court called the amount "unreasonable and an abuse of discretion" and lowered it to 250,000 US dollars on June 12.
Gristina's supporters have spent the ensuing weeks trying to put together the money, particularly after she decided to decline an offer from one of her former lawyers who was willing to put up his Manhattan loft apartment as collateral.
Bail bondsman Ira Judelson said members of Gristina's family put up property for her bond. By law, prosecutors sometimes can review bail arrangements and raise objections if they think the money is not legitimate. In Gristina's case, the District Attorney's office did not object, and Merchan OK'd the plan.