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Bail hearing Thursday for accused N.Y. madam

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NEW YORK (AP) — The accused madam of a multimillion-dollar Manhattan brothel could get out of jail if a judge OKs a defense lawyer's plan to put up his own apartment as bail and a house-arrest locale for her.

Anna Gristina was due in court Thursday for a hearing on the unusual proposal.

Accused of providing pricey prostitutes for 15 years and touting ties to law enforcement, Mrs. Gristina has been held on $2 million bond since her February arraignment. Prosecutors have said her wealthy clients could help her flee, and they suggest the Scottish-born British citizen may have money hidden away for such a move.

One of her lawyers, Peter J. Gleason, told a judge earlier this week that she's broke and he would put up his $2.5 million downtown Manhattan loft for the bond. He also offered to have Mrs. Gristina and her family move in with him, with her under house arrest and electronic monitoring.

He said Wednesday that he admired people who "were defined as much as by what they were willing to risk as by what they accomplished," and he'd made the offer in that spirit.

Prosecutors oppose the plan.

"There are ethical concerns," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan told a court Monday.

State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said he didn't think there was an ethics problem but wanted to explore the issue further.

While not unheard of, it's certainly unconventional for lawyers to post bail for clients. A 2009 Bronx court ruling said there was no clear prohibition on such arrangements in New York, and their ethics are "the subject of continuing debate."

Ms. Gristina, 44, and co-defendant Jaynie Baker, 30, have pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution. Their lawyers have said they were working together to start a business as matchmakers, not madams.

Ms. Baker was released Tuesday on $100,000 bond after turning herself in.

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday that a police sergeant had been cleared of any wrongdoing after internal-affairs investigators interviewed him in the matter.

Sgt. Richard Wall had been ordered to turn over his work log for the past five years after someone reported he had been to the Upper East Side apartment building where prosecutors say Mrs. Gristina arranged trysts.

Commissioner Kelly said Sgt. Wall was assigned to the area and went to the building on police work. Sgt. Wall's lawyer earlier said the sergeant had nothing to do with Mrs. Gristina.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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