A grinning Gristina strode out of Manhattan Criminal Court just after 9 p.m. Tuesday with her husband and son by her side and headed to the family's farm in upstate Monroe, N.Y., where she arrived late Tuesday evening.
"Thank you everyone," Gristina said in brief remarks to reporters outside the courthouse. "I just want to be with my family tonight, please."
Gristina has been jailed since her arrest Feb. 23 on charges she ran a multi-million dollar brothel out of an Upper East Side apartment, as first reported by DNAinfo.com New York, and has tried desperately to get released.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office approved her $250,000 bond package, which was financed with collateral from a family friend's property, bail bondsman Ira Judelson said. Bail was originally set at $2 million and had only recently been reduced. Justice Juan Merchan signed off on the bond, clearing the way for Gristina's release
"I feel relieved for the family," Judelson said Tuesday evening. "This took a lot of work, but I'm happy she can finally go home."
Gristina's smiling husband, Kelvin Gorr, and their 9-year-old son, Nicholas, arrived in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday evening in anticipation of Gristina's release. Nicholas, who was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur, wore a "Today Show" baseball cap and T-shirt and carried a bouquet of red roses for his mother.
Gristina left the courthouse with her arm around her son, wearing a gray sweater, blue track pants and sneakers. She had her blond hair pulled back and appeared dazed and nervous, but happy.
The trio arrived at the family's Monroe pig farm late Tuesday evening and headed inside without speaking to reporters.
Now that Gristina is finally out on bail, her lawyer Norman Pattis said he would focus on defending his client at trial.
"The nightmare of her bond ends today and trial preparation starts tomorrow," Pattis said. "The second best day in this case will be when she walks out of this court and we hear a jury verdict of not guilty."
Pattis said he had not expected Gristina to be released until Wednesday and was pleasantly surprised when he heard late Tuesday afternoon that she had been cleared to go.
Gristina was fitted with an ankle bracelet that she is required to wear as part of her release deal.
The ankle bracelet is likely to cost her between $10 and $15 a day, as part of her bail conditions, Judelson said.
But Gristina won't be under house arrest, Judelson said.
He and Gristina will work out where she'll be able to travel while wearing the device that will monitor her location at all times. Orange County, her lawyer's offices in Connecticut and court in Manhattan would probably all be within the decided-upon boundaries.
The judge originally set Gristina's bail at $2 million after prosecutors argued that the Scottish national, who has a British passport and a second home in Canada, was a flight risk.
She tried unsuccessfully four times to have that amount reduced, but Merchan rejected her legal team's arguments each time.
A state appeals court panel recently decided to dramatically lower Gristina's bail on the single count of promoting prostitution.
Gristina's family also set up a website to collect donations from the public to help her make bail.
Her family lawyer, Peter Gleason, offered last week to put up his $2.5 million Tribeca condo as collateral, but Gristina rejected the offer at the last minute.
News of her arrest stunned the city when it was revealed in March.
Officials said that they caught Gristina bragging on surveillance tape about connections to law enforcement and others who would tip her off to an investigation.
She allegedly said that she made millions over the course of 15 years through a network of wealthy clients.
According to court documents, the soccer mom of four, who has a fondness for potbelly pigs, was swept up by investigators from the DA's office after allegedly meeting with a Morgan Stanley banker about expanding her business interests.
She claimed that she believed she was being kidnapped that day, when she was whisked into a car with tinted windows and taken in for interrogation.
There, Gristina said that she was interrogated for hours about five alleged associates including a "wealthy financier" and "prominent international banker," but refused to squeal.
Gristina allegedly ran the brothel on East 78th Street with Jaynie Mae Baker, 30, a matchmaking service recruiter from Brooklyn.
Baker, who also faces a single count of promoting prostitution, has been free on $100,000 bail since her March 13 arrest.