Judge Approves Anna Gristina's New Legal Team
DOWNTOWN — Anna Gristina has a new legal team — again.
The alleged "Millionaire Madam" got a new set of lawyers Tuesday after dumping her last attorney, Gary Greenwald, who tried to negotiate a plea deal without her approval while she sat in jail on $2 million bail, according to sources.
Her new lawyer, Norman Pattis, a high-profile defense attorney based in Connecticut, will work with research assistant Daniel Geller, who was an intern at the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.
Gristina has been desperately trying to get sprung from Rikers Island, where she has been held since her arrest in February. Greenwald hinted in March that his client might be open to a plea.
John Geida — also based in Connecticut but licensed to practice in New York — will act as sponsoring counsel for Pattis after Peter Gleason, who agreed to represent Gristina pro bono, stepped down.
"This is your trial team," said Justice Juan Merchan in Manhattan Supreme Court. "If you seek to substitute or fire [an attorney], the court will have to take a really hard look at that."
Merchan said he had "serious concerns" about granting the application for Gristina's new team during her last appearance on May 9.
He was particularly concerned with Gleason, saying the defense team was not clear with him about the lawyer's relationship with Gristina and her family.
Geida, who is now the attorney of record, said he has known Pattis since 2006.
"I worked with him for several years, [we] tried several cases together," Geida said.
Merchan added that he is frustrated with how the trial has been delayed and will grant no more adjournments or extensions.
"Nine attorneys and one appearing twice is an exceptional number by any standard," the judge said.