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Lawyers Debate Bail In Case Of Accused UES Madame

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An upstate mother accused of running a prostitution ring out of a Manhattan apartment will remain behind bars on Rikers Island following a complicated courtroom appearance Monday morning.

Anna Gristina, 44, pleaded not guilty last month to promoting prostitution.

Prosecutors say she made millions of dollars working out of an apartment on East 78th Street for about 15 years.

While in court Monday, defense attorney Peter Gleason asked that the court-appointed attorney - veteran defense lawyer Richard Siracusa - be removed from the case and replaced.

Siracusa though said Gleason is the problem, telling the judge at one point, "He's been nothing but a hindrance to me."

When the judge asked the defense attorney's why Gristina should be entitled to free legal representation, Gleason responded, "she doesn't even have two nickels to rub together."

The judge later ruled both men will stay on, emphasizing Siracusa will take the lead in defending Gristina.

On the issue of bail, Gleason said he would be willing to put up his $2.5 million TriBeCa loft as collateral for her release – a move which prosecutors objected to on the grounds it may be unethical.

The judge agreed and told lawyers on both sides to do more research.

"I've interviewed her extensively, I've met with her family," Gleason told reporters outside the courtroom. "I feel so comfortable giving them access to my place. I want them to move in with me. And she has said and I agree, she wants an ankle bracelet and she wants to be confined to my loft with her family."

In a statement, Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Charles Linehan said, "There is serious concern in having a lawyer put up any kind of bail, much less his home."

If convicted, Gristina could face up to seven years in prison.

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