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'Millionaire Madam' speaks out in jailhouse interview

June 14, 2012 8:47:12 AM PDT
The alleged Millionaire Madam is speaking out, offering her side of the story in a jailhouse interview.

Anna Gristina refused to answer directly to allegations that she ran a high-end brothel out of an Upper East Side apartment, but she told The Today Show that she had an idea of starting a dating service that she described as being much like Match.com.

"I watched a show called 'The Millionaire Matchmaker,': she said. "A friend had suggested you'd be good at that, so I looked into opening something called the same thing, instead of single and seeking, it was married and single."

She wouldn't say if that meant linking married men with women specifically for sex.

The 42-year-old has been behind bars at Rikers Island since her February arrest on one count of promoting prostitution, but she claims she's there because the district attorney is "sweating her out" for information about five prominent men believed to be clients.

"And I have nothing to give them," she said. "That's why I'm still here. I have nothing to give them."

She remains behind bars, but she is trying to raise the funds to cover her newly reduced bail. The mother of four from Orange County says she just wants to get back home to her husband and kids.

"For my family, it's just devastating," she said. "My husband, having a really hard time keeping it together and my son, the young one...he knows I'm in jail. After three months, he came to see me here, and he cried the whole time and begged to stay with me."

Prosecutors say Gristina peddled prostitutes for 15 years and boasted that she had law-enforcement contacts. Her lawyers have said she was merely starting a matchmaking business.

She has pleaded not guilty.

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