Accused Monroe madam Anna Gristina has hired a new high-profile attorney known for defending civil rights cases to lead her legal team.
On Wednesday, Gristina, who is charged with running a high-end prostitution ring out of a Manhattan apartment, disclosed that she has hired Norm Pattis, the bespectacled and pony-tailed Connecticut lawyer who appears frequently as a TV news commentator.
In a statement, Pattis said the charges against Gristina and $2 million bail "are part of a larger game" involving the Manhattan DA's office and other parties.
New York lawyer Gary Greenwald had been Gristina's lead attorney. Joining Pattis on the new legal team is New York lawyer Peter Gleason.
Gristina, 44, was arrested Feb. 22 following her indictment by a Manhattan grand jury. She pleaded not guilty and has been held on $2 million bail at Riker's Island since her arraignment. Her lawyers have pleaded for a reduction in bail.
Gristina is the ex-wife of a Putnam County politician who lives in southern Orange County with her husband, Kelvin Gorr, and her four children. Gristina's case has attracted media attention in part because of her bucolic suburban lifestyle, which includes caring for potbelly pigs as part of a rescue program she helps run.
Gristina faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of promoting prostitution.
In one prominent case, Pattis is defending a police officer of charges that he and other officers in the East Haven Police Department harassed and abused Latinos.