The saga of alleged “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina continues, and according to the judge in her case, the merry-go-round should stop soon. In an apparent attempt to further thwart the trial proceedings, Ms. Gristina has requested yet another change to her legal team. By the judge in her upcoming trials assessment, this many changes are “exceptional by any standard.”
“This is your trial team,” says Judge Juan Merchan. “If you seek to substitute counsel, if you see to fire counsel the court will have to take a really hard look at that.” Judge Merchan also stated that he would look “dimly upon any further attempt to change her team.”
This comes on the heels of Ms. Gristina’s request to add newbie attorney Daniel Geller to her legal team. Geller, son of the famed self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller, has only been licensed to practice law inNew York since March, and of late has been working as an intern in the King’s County district attorney’s office. With no direct relation to the case, and citing his lack of experience, the judge denied Gristina’s request to add Geller to her legal team.
In a related development, Ms. Gristina’s family and friends have taken to the web, launching a web site to help collect and raise funds to cover her $2 million bond. According to the site, the conditions under which Ms. Gristina is forced to live while being held at Rikers Island are described as “squalid” Claims of being kept in solitary confinement, rats, roaches, temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and being forced to wear nothing more than a t-shirt and diaper are just some of the claims from Gristina’s camp; claims that according to Sharman Stein, a representative for the Department of Corrections denies.
“This is not solitary confinement,” Stein said. “It is not punishment. It is protective custody, a single-cell housing, as is true for many other inmates in the system and for all high-profile inmates. All of the (other) allegations that are being made are untrue.”
Peter Gleason, a member of Gristina’s legal team, recently attempted to put his client’s Tribeca apartment up as security for bail. The attempt was unsuccessful. Now, Gristina must sit and wait while her legal team strategizes, and her family waits.
“The children are distraught,” says Gristina’s husband, Kelvin Gorr. In a recent interview with The New York Post, the hirsute Gorr stated, “there’s Mother’s Day, the prom, graduation. She should be out. These are once-in-a-lifetime things that she’s missing because of an unjust bail. I started the Web site in hopes of raising enough capital to get my wife out of jail.”
Anna Gristina’s next court date is in July 2012.