When alleged Manhattan madam Anna Gristina was arrested earlier this year, it was reported that she had made millions of dollars over the fifteen years she ran a brothel on the Upper East Side. The suburban mother of four, charged with just one count of promoting prostitution, has been held on $2 million bail ever since, despite four tries from her lawyers to lower what they say is an obscene amount. Now her family has launched a website, HelpAnna.org, seeking donations to bring her home before trial and claiming that she's being treated like a "war criminal."
According to the site, "Anna is kept in solitary confinement, in a room where the temperatures exceed over 100 degrees. Rats and roaches scurry all around her. The authorities humiliated her further by attempting to make her wear only a t-shirt and diaper." But the Department of Correction told DNA Info, "There's absolutely no truth to it."
"There is never a day, a morning, an hour, a minute that goes by that we don't miss our Mother, Anna Gristina-Gorr," says the site, which rotates between family photos and a shot of Gristina's foster pigs. "To us, she is the woman who we call for when we are sick, who goes to our school plays and soccer games, who smiles in our eyes. She is Mom."
A look at New York's screwed-up bail system also happens to be on the cover of the Village Voice this week, and includes statistics like, "In 2010, only 17 percent of those held on $1,000 or less made bail at arraignment." Forty-four percent of people held on $500 or less, meanwhile, remained in jail until their case was decided.