"Soccer Mom Madam" pleads guilty in New York

NEW YORK Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:46pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anna Gristina, the accused Manhattan madam whose case garnered lurid headlines in the New York media, pleaded guilty Tuesday in state court to one count of promoting prostitution.

The "Soccer Mom Madam," as she was dubbed by the tabloids, is expected to be sentenced in November to time served by Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan. She spent four months in jail after her February arrest.

With her family in the front row of the courtroom, Gristina told Merchan she wanted to change her plea to guilty, then turned and mouthed to her husband, Kelvin Gorr, "Okay?"

Gorr nodded, hugging their young son.

Officials spent five years investigating the case, using wiretaps and other methods of surveillance. But it only resulted in one criminal count against Gristina.

The Manhattan district attorney's office said Gristina ran a high-end brothel for wealthy clients out of a Manhattan apartment and was captured on tape boasting of connections inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the district attorney's office and the police department.

Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan told Merchan that prosecutors had been unable to substantiate her claims of ties to law enforcement.

"We are left with a straightforward promoting prostitution case," he said. "That is all."

Gristina had refused to consider a plea deal, in part because she could face deportation to her native Scotland for a crime of moral turpitude. Her lawyer, Norman Pattis, said she would fight to stay in the United States.

As part of her plea, Gristina admitted in court that she arranged for a tryst between two prostitutes she employed and a man, known to her as "Anthony," inside an apartment on the Upper East Side. The man was an undercover police officer, according to court documents. (Editing by Dan Burns and Stacey Joyce)

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