Court Bars Representation By Counsel Who Offered His Own New York City Loft As Collateral On Bond For Accused Madam in Prostitution Case

A New York City lawyer has been removed from a case involving a high-end prostitution ring because the judge, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan found his relationship with the accused “Madam” to be “murky.” Attorney Peter Gleason had put up his own $2.5 million New York City loft as collateral on the $2 million bond for Anna Gristina (shown here in a photo with her husband).


Prosecutors had objected to the “murky” relationship between Gleason and Gristina. Merchan simply announced that Gleason is “no longer an attorney in the case. He’s an attorney who wants to put up his apartment for collateral.”

It presents an interesting question. I am not sure that merely supplying collateral is enough to remove an attorney, but it presents a novel question. Clearly attorneys may not work on criminal cases on a contingency basis due to ethical rules. What made this more suspicious was Gleason’s proposal to have Gristina live with him in his Tribeca loft. She needs to pay ten percent on the $2 million bond to get out of Rikers.

I am troubled by the size of the bond and lack of clear evidence of a flight risk in the case. I am particularly troubled by reports that the prosecutors offered to reduce or withdraw the demands of bond if she supplied them with “certain information.” That would appear, if true, an abuse of the process. Yet, this article says that Marchan stated that he would not second-guess the prosecutors. I thought that was the idea of an independent judicial review on such questions. Bond is not supposed to be used to coerce cooperation. It is merely to help guarantee the appearance of the witness. While Gristina is British-born, she could be placed on monitored release. Surrendering your passport is a standard requirement in such cases.

As for Gleason’s offer, the replacement counsel insisted that it was done out of the best of motivations. Yet, the prosecutors told the court that it should treat the offer as some per se barrier to representation: “Mr. Gleason also stated that he did not care whether the defendant was guilty or innocent, a sentiment one might expect from a close friend, but less so from one’s defense counsel.” That could be snide comment leveled against an array of representational relationships between defense counsel and a defendant.

Once again, I fail to see why such a suggestion constitutes a basis for severance of representation. Even if they were friends, that is not a per se barrier to representation. While other lawyers and a well-known accountant have been arrested, Gleason did not allege that Gleason was a customer of the brothel. It is incumbent on the judge to supply a more compelling basis to deny an accused person the counsel of her choice. I know of no per se rule barring an attorney from supplying collateral on a bond anymore than a rule barring counsel from waiving or delaying payment on fees. It is not necessary a good or advisable practice, but it does not create a conflict of interest since it would presumably only add to the attorney’s commitment to have his client appear in court. At a minimum, there should be a full explanation of the basis for this ruling — other than a desire not to second guess the prosecution on such matters (as reportedly done on the bond issue).

Perhaps our New York lawyers can help us with this? Is there a per se rule on such assistance from counsel in New York?

Source: NY Daily News as first seen on ABA Journal

17 thoughts on “Court Bars Representation By Counsel Who Offered His Own New York City Loft As Collateral On Bond For Accused Madam in Prostitution Case”

  1. David Jaroslawicz’s hands are as dirty as the days are long. This isn’t the first time the police lied for him. He has long ties to corruption, prostitution, narocotic, illegal businesses and fraud. Mr. Jaroslawicz is laudering money via dozens and dozens of buildings in lower Manhattan, with dozens and dozens and dozens of faux llc when not a single record adds up in a single building, or bar across the board. The fraud goes way deeper then madam’s or prostitution using dozens of faux llc’s that all trace back to Jaroslawicz’s clients.

    Prostituton has notoiously been linked to trafficking narcotics and bars. I hardly think the DA is interested in “the johns”. The johns are not who is laundering the money. They are after way bigger fish laundering massive amounts of money linked to Mr. Jaroslawicz’s clients not sex. Its the lawyers clients their are after not the madam.

    I would think her black book is the last thing the DA is interested in regarding Mr. Jarolsawicz, money laundering, or corruption. His clients are linked to the money laundering scheme with the Rabbi’s in New Jersey.

    Mr. Jarolsawicz is involved in a massive fraud scheme in lower Manahattan involving a few more zero’s on the end of it. They are after much bigger fish then the johns who can all breath easy.

  2. Two men linked to the millionaire Soccer Mom Madam emerged Saturday as partners in mime.

    The tight-lipped twosome said nothing as they blew past reporters outside their Manhattan homes without saying a word — one day after investigators seized boxes of paperwork from the office of attorney David Jaroslawicz.

    The high-profile lawyer declined to discuss the contents of those boxes or anything else after leaving his home on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The 65-year-old Jaroslawicz, through his lawyer, has insisted that he is not the target of any investigation. Sources linked him to the alleged madam’s upstate New York home and her suspected E. 78th St. brothel.

    The attorney previously made headlines by representing women suing future Hall of Famer Brett Favre and the Sultan of Brunei.

    Equally silent was Jonas Gayer, 68, a former IRS agent indicted under the name “John Doe” in 2010 for promoting prostitution and money-laundering, sources told the Daily News.

    Gayer, in a shirt and sleeveless zippered sweater, declined to answer questions outside his home.

    The native of Russia told The News one day earlier that he had no business dealings with Anna Gristina, held on $2 million bond as the blonde-maned boss of the multimillion-dollar prostitution ring.

    Gayer pleaded guilty 20 years ago to a charge of lying to the feds.

    Despite his checkered past, there are indications that Gayer is cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney’s probe of Gristina, a married mother of four, and purported business partner Jaynie Mae Baker.

    Baker, 30, who claims she’s a professional matchmaker, is free on $100,000 bond after turning herself in last week. Gristina remains behind bars on Rikers Island.

    lmcshane
    @nydailynews.co

  3. Can’t resist…growing weaker….

    Is there a law that prohibits lawyers from screwing their clients?

    Feeling better now, thanks:-)

  4. John
    1, March 19, 2012 at 10:06 am
    Another judge that needs to be removed…bars representation, but over looks the blackmail…
    =========================================================

    um, when you’re commenting about a prostitution case you might want to consider a pseudonym.

  5. TalkingDog: “The Judge, the Prosecutors and the other schmucks of that state should beware of pushing this defendant to do anything. If she starts revealing the names of her pay for sex clients there will be some embarassment in the halls of justice.
    —————

    The DC Madame threatened to do that. I’d stay out of sheds if I was Ms. Gristina.

  6. That whole issue of the bond being used as coercion does not pass the smell test. It makes me wonder if Judge Merchan or the prosecution is fishing for personal information, i.e. information about themselves. Nor do I think the bond in and of itself is sufficient grounds for severance. This whole situation needs two things: 1) an impartial and through investigation of the events leading to this prosecution and the actions of both the prosecutors, the judge and the defense attorney and 2) a change of venue.

  7. The Judge, the Prosecutors and the other schmucks of that state should beware of pushing this defendant to do anything. If she starts revealing the names of her pay for sex clients there will be some embarassment in the halls of justice.

    The judge should be removed from the case and probably removed from the bench.

    The prosecutor’s allegation that Defense Counsel does not care if the defendant is innocent or guilty has his head up the wrong hole. A Prosecutor has to care if the defendant is guilty. Not defense counsel. Otherwise there would be no defense counsel. What a monumentally dumb thing to put on the record.

    The amont of bond is ridiculous.

  8. A repost :

    “eniobob
    1, March 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    TalkinDog:

    To your point,this case is huge here in Manhattan:

    “Law schools are replete with non lawyers–those who had never picked a jury.”

    Check this out:

    :His role has engendered questions from the judge — who prompted Gleason to acknowledge in court Monday that he has never tried a felony case — and tensions with her court-appointed lawyer, Richard Siracusa. Siracusa, a veteran defense lawyer, was put on the case before Gleason got involved at the behest of a Gristina family friend.:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57395587/lawyers-squabble-over-accused-nyc-madams-case/

  9. Another judge that needs to be removed…bars representation, but over looks the blackmail…

  10. “I am particularly troubled by reports that the prosecutors offered to reduce or withdraw the demands of bond if she supplied them with “certain information.””

    One of the things wrong with the American legal system today is prosecutors making deals like this to go after those they feel are higher up on the food chain, or possibly given a higher priced clientele, wanting evidence to garner publicity indicting someone of renown. I this instance it is the antiquated laws against prostitution driven by the puritans of this country. Any time consensual activity by, or between adults is criminalized the consequences become problematic for many a fair justice system.

  11. Seems to me that the prosecutors aren’t just satisfied with trying the madam and want to snare as many Johns as possible all to make their numbers look better.

  12. If my read on this pending care is correct…. There are a lot of high profile executives that want her out of the country….. Apparently, this madam if you will has names, numbers, addresses of the johns….. Seems, to be a safe bet that she might just get escorted off of the American continent…..

    As far as a bar to representation this alone should not matter…..

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