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Judge Denies Lower Bail in NY Madam Case

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from www.abcnews.go.com – A New York City judge today denied a reduction in bail for a U.K.-born woman accused of orchestrating a prostitution business for high-powered clientele from a Manhattan brownstone.

Prosecutors had argued that Anna Gristina, 44, jailed on $2 billion bail, would present a flight risk if released while she awaits trial on a charge of promoting prostitution in the third degree.

Gristina and an unnamed person were listed as co-defendants in an indictment issued Friday by the New York City District Attorney’s Office. The D.A.’s office declined to comment on the case. Gristina has pleaded not guilty, saying though her lawayer that she was attempting to set up an online dating business, according to the Associated Press.

The woman allegedly promoted prostitution under the name Anna Scotland for 15 years, netting her millions of dollars as attractive young women, some of them allegedly underage, and wealthy men came and went from an unassuming brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Her list of clients allegedly included politicians, bankers, executives, top law enforcement officials and other powerful individuals, according to the New York Post.

“I’m surprised there was a brothel next door,” Tony Kim, who owns Danny Boy’s Cleaners, told ABCNews.com of the allegations. “I’ve never seen anything like people walking in and out during the day.”

Gristina was allegedly caught on wiretaps and surveillance videos as part of a five-year investigation by the District Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit, which probes the conduct of law enforcement and other officials and whether they have been protecting Gristina’s alleged activities.

Prosecutors alleged at her arraignment that the tapes capture her bragging about how law enforcement sources promised to warn her if she were under suspicion, particularly during the time New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was revealed to be a client of an escort service that was shut down in 2009.

She was also heard on wiretaps talking about a friend who is a prominent lawyer and the precautions he helped her take in the event of her arrest, according to prosecutors.

“He’s [the friend] basically locked money away for her should this ever happen so she will have money when she comes out of it,” Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan said, according to a transcript of the Feb. 23 arraignment obtained by DNAinfo, a local Manhattan news site.

Authorities arrested Gristina Feb. 22 while she was meeting with a Morgan Stanley banker to discuss ways to expand her alleged business online, the site reported.

Morgan Stanley declined ABCNews.com’s request for comment.

Gristina reportedly has four children and lives in Monroe, N.Y., with husband Kelvin Gorr and various rescue animals.

“We are just a great family … and my wife means everything to me,” Gorr told the New York Daily News as he exited his wife’s hearing today. “I feel heartbroken.”

Gristina was previously married to Dario Gristina, who is a candidate for New York State Assembly.

Her next court date is scheduled for May 3.

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