'Millionaire Madam's' Alleged Partner Released on $100K Bail
By DNAinfo Staff on March 13, 2012 1:10pm |
By Shayna Jacobs, Trevor Kapp, Adam Nichols, Sonja Sharp and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — She went from Cabo to the courthouse.
The stunning strawberry blond alleged accomplice of "Millionaire Madam" Anna Gristina turned herself in Tuesday to face charges of promoting prostitution nearly three weeks after vanishing to Mexico.
But Jaynie Mae Baker's high-powered lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, insisted that his client, a recruiter for high-end Fifth Avenue maker VIP life, did not go on the lam after DNAinfo broke the news of the sensational case, but was rather vacationing in Cabo San Lucas.
After surrendering to prosecutors, Baker arrived at court wearing khaki dress pants, brown pumps and red, thin-rimmed glasses. Sporting styled, curly strawberry blond locks and handcuffs, she softly mumbled "not guilty," when she was read the charge of promoting prostitution.
Prosecutors say she helped Gristina, a pig-loving soccer mom, run a call girl ring out of an Upper East Side apartment that raked in millions over 15 years.
Gristina allegedly bragged to investigators that she knew people in law enforcement who would tip her off if she came under investigation, sparking a five-year public corruption investigation.
According to prosecutors, Baker's involvement in the ring was described by witnesses on "numerous audio and video recordings" over the years.
"We have had numerous informants over the years who have at times discussed Ms. Baker's role in the entire operation," said Assistant District Attorney Charles Linehan, without elaborating as to her alleged role in the illicit business.
Prosecutors suggested that it was not clear if Baker went on the run after learning about the charges.
"Without arguing that she fled or anything like that, she did end up leaving the country and went to Mexico," Linehan told the judge. "I don't know at what point she learned of the indictment."
Baker, wearing a red peacoat, was released on $100,000 bail and walked silently out of the courthouse with her lawyer and her sister, Jessica amid a gaggle of photographers.
"I'm just here for support right now," said Jessica Baker before the hearing.
A house in Mill Neck, LI, belonging to Jaynie Baker's boyfriend was put up as collateral for the bail.
Her bond was issued by Ira Judelson, who is known for helping to spring such high-profile defendants as former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, rapper Lil' Wayne and countless other rich and famous clients who have been arrested in New York.
Baker surrendered her passport and is due back in court on March 27.
Outside court, Gottlieb insisted that his client was "a legitimate matchmaker" and described her as "a wonderful, smart, educated young woman" who has done extensive charity work internationally.
Baker, 30, who lives in a luxury building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, hadn't been seen since Gristina's arrest on Feb. 22. Friends said she was vacationing on the West Coast.
She was briefly held in Newark airport by customs agents on an arrest warrant, but was released Saturday night because she was expected to surrender.
Baker and Gristina, a mother of four from upstate Monroe who is being held on $2 million bail, were both indicted on a single charge of promoting prostitution, a felony.
Sources said that the women met at one of the high-end networking parties that Gristina hosted in Manhattan in recent years.
A number of high-powered players attended the party, including a Scottish billionaire and real estate moguls, according to the sources.
Gristina's defense team has insisted that she was running a legitimate networking business and was looking to bring the venture online.
She was arrested last month after a meeting with Morgan Stanley banker David Walker. Walker has not been charged in the case.