The 'Mommy Madam' Is Having Lawyer Drama

Despite yesterday's item in the New York Post offering hope that the Upper East Side "Mommy Madam" might be released on bail after her lawyer Peter Gleason offered up his TriBeCa loft toward her bond of $2 million, what we get instead is legal drama. 

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Despite yesterday's item in the New York Post offering hope that the Upper East Side "Mommy Madam" might be released on bail after her lawyer Peter Gleason offered up his TriBeCa loft toward her bond of $2 million, what we get instead is legal drama. That's right -- no black book, no client names, no scandalizing tibits. Lawyers, of which Anna Gristina has more than the usual number.

As Colin Moynihan breaks it down in The New York Times, first, there's Gristina's court appointed lawyer, Richard Siracusa. Then there's Peter Gleason, the man who offered up his loft for Gristina and family, who is taking the case pro-bono. And then there's Ronald Kuby, representing Gleason. Gleason wants Siracusa off the case, while Siracusa calls Gleason's role "a hindrance." Kuby is just there to support Gleason (though he was dismissed by the judge, Justice Juan Merchan, at the hearing Monday). That's when, reports Moynihan, "Mr. Gleason suggested that there might not be any role for Mr. Siracusa either, telling Justice Merchan that Ms. Gristina wanted him off the case." Some of the issue was that Siracusa had apparently not visited Gristina at Rikers. A private conversation between Gristina and Siracusa appeared to have cleared up the matter, and Merchan has declared Siracusa the primary lawyer on the case, giving Gleason the opportunity to speak in court as well.

Before doing so, however, Merchan questioned whether Gristina even fit the bill for a court-appointed lawyer, given allegations that she'd made more than $10 million by running a brothel. But, as Gleason insisted, “She doesn’t have two nickels to rub together" -- promising if it turned out that she in fact did, she'd pay the state back for every penny spent in her defense.

As for Gleason's offer that Gristina move into his TriBeCa loft to await trial, prosecutor Charles Lenihan objected, deeming it unethical. (Gleason's motivations are somewhat unclear, though he seems to believe he is doing Gristina a great service; "I think I saved her life with that press conference, quite honestly,” he said of recent events.) Merchan will make a decision about Gristina's release on Thursday. Until then, as the New York Post editors put it, the madam must "cool her heels."

This topical switch from order to law, however, makes us wonder how much bombshell this "bombshell" brothel case truly has. Will people pay attention to the lawyerly infighting and courtroom bureaucracies when there are more outrageous things to turn to? (Note that the Post goes with homeless hotspots on their cover today.) If an alleged brothel is busted and no client names emerge, will anyone continue to read about it? Maybe... If the madam's alleged accomplice surrenders soon.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.