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Co-defendant makes deal to avoid jail in Madam case

August 15, 2012 3:08:00 AM PDT
A matchmaking recruiter charged with helping run a multimillion-dollar escort service has made a deal with prosecutors, a person familiar with the case said Tuesday.

The details were unclear, but the person said Jaynie Baker had reached an agreement to resolve her promoting-prostitution case. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the agreement before it's aired in court.

The Manhattan district attorney's office and Baker's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, declined to comment.

The news came two days before Baker and Anna Gristina, the suburban mother of four and pig rescuer who's accused of moonlighting as a big-money madam, had been scheduled to appear in court together for the first time since their arrests this winter.

Court records now show Baker isn't due back until October, and bail bondsman Ira Judelson said she had called him to say she wouldn't be in court Thursday.

It's unclear what the developments, first reported by the New York Post, mean for Gristina, who's still due in court Thursday. Her lawyer, Norman Pattis, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Gristina and Baker entered not guilty pleas earlier this year. The Scotland-born Gristina, 44, has said she was simply starting a dating service, not dispatching Manhattan call girls.

She was arrested Feb. 22 as she left a friend's Morgan Stanley office after a fund-raising meeting for her business, prosecutors say.

Gristina supplied pricey prostitutes to monied, influential clients for 15 years and touted ties to law enforcement, saying her connections could tip her off if trouble loomed, prosecutors say.

Baker, 30, turned herself in March 13 after learning that authorities were looking for her. She had been in Mexico on vacation, Gottlieb said at the time.

Prosecutors have said numerous informants have told about Baker's role in Gristina's operation. But Gottlieb has said "there is nothing sordid, nothing illegal" in Baker's work.

Baker had been a freelance recruiter for a high-end matchmaking service, though its founder said she never ended up referring a client or getting paid during the six months she was associated with it.

Baker also has been involved in charities ranging from working in New York soup kitchens to going to India to help get clothing to the poor, Gottlieb said.

If convicted, Gristina and Baker each could face up to seven years in prison.

Two prostitutes and a money launderer also have been arrested in the case, authorities say.

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