If one of Gotham’s leading tabloids is correct, the dragnet for alleged “Mommy Madam” Anna Gristina’s pimping accomplice is one step closer to exposing its target. According to the NY Post, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD have their eyes set on 30 year old VIP Life matchmaking recruiter Jaynie Baker as the next arrest in the latest high end prostitution bust.
Despite all the hubbub, Gristina, and possibly Baker, is only charged with a “D” non-violent felony for Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree. While prosecutors claim the mother of four scored millions of dollars during her time as a madam, she is not charged with Money Laundering, Enterprise Corruption or any other crime. As I stated in an earlier entry, this one count indictment is strikingly “odd.” In the recent past, high end escort services and their proprietors have been charged with significantly more offenses and much more serious crimes than one “D” felony that does not even carry a mandatory state prison sentence.
Although I have no inside information and I can merely speculate based on the information in the newspapers and my years of experience as both a Manhattan prosecutor and New York criminal lawyer, there appears to be something more insidious (I just like the word to sex things up even if it is not the most appropriate) going on. If, as prosecutors claim, there were underage women involved in this prostitution ring, then an indictment would have been voted out conveying this crime. After all, according to reports, the case against Gristina has been vetted and investigated for five years. The dollars, manpower and time spent investigating this woman would certainly have resulted in enough evidence to charge her for a related crime if it was true and proveable.
What is more likely, and this is and educated guess, is that prosecutors are sitting on something or working towards something that is well above Gristina’s “pay grade.” While I do not believe that “something” or someone is alleged “D” felony co-conspirator Jaynie Baker, could it be that the two women are pawns or tools to land a much bigger fish such as the individual(s) in law enforcement who Gristina claimed protected her? Maybe there are politicians, business leaders or members of the bar who are somehow involved as Johns, enablers, uncharged co-conspirators, profiteers or protectors. If nothing else, I bet a lot of people are sweating that “black book”. Is it possible or have has Gristina been advised that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has the ability to be much more heavy handed should things not play out the way prosecutors would like?
This case is intriguing, in my opinion, for many reasons none of which is because Gristina is charged with the crime of Promoting Prostitution. As fun of a story as it may be, countless men and women have been arrested and indicted for these crimes and will continue to be well after everyone involved in this case has long since forgotten what transpired. What is more compelling is the air of mystery and a seemingly atypical path that got us here.
Whether Gristina ever gets out of Rikers to fight the allegations, she remains in custody, Baker becomes a cellmate recruiter on “The Island” (a/k/a, Rikers) or a combination of all the above, this is far from the last we have heard of this case. Arguably, since she is in jail on $2 million (a absurd amount that cannot be justified given the one count indictment, her family ties, metro-NY residence, ability to forfeit her passport and a candidate to wear an ankle monitor) and prosecutors are not likely to make her a good deal barring something transpiring beyond the four corners of the indictment, Gristina might even consider going to trial. After all, if there really are no other potential crimes (I don’t believe this is the situation for whatever its worth), what more does she have to lose?
To educate yourself on New York’s crimes involving Escort Services, Prostitution and Unlicensed Massage, follow the highlighted link.
A New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors, Saland Law PC’s criminal lawyers represents clients throughout the New York City area.