The Manhattan Madam
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Manny Scharon on the right and Ira Judelson on the left escorting Anna Gristina out of New York superior court.
madam may get bail, but ankle bracelet will limit her freedom
ANNA GRISTINA To wear anklet once out.
It’s the go-to bauble for cosmopolitan madams, as compulsory an accessory as the little black book.
Accused madam Anna Gristina is hoping to post a $250,000 bail bond today or tomorrow — thanks to collateral being offered by her family lawyer, Peter Gleason — but she won’t go anywhere without her court-mandated ankle bracelet.
“It’s this big, bulky, awkward thing that you can’t wear a skirt or a dress with,” advises veteran madam and ankle-bracelet model Kristin Davis, who wore one of the monitoring devices for five months in 2008.
“It was like having a five-pound weight on your ankle,” recalls Davis, whose service has been linked to such horndog luminaries as Dominique Strauss Kahn and ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Her advice to Gristina when people point and ask, “What’s that?” Lie.
“I would tell people it’s for measuring how much you’re exercising,” Davis recalled. “Half the time they actually believed me.”
Ankle bracelets — essentially a combination GPS-tracking-device and cell phone — record a perp’s location and whether they are remaining within their court-mandated boundaries, sending a signal to that effect to a central monitoring office every three to five seconds.
“It’s great. It’s like my electronic bounty hunter,” said Gristina’s bail bondsman, Ira Judelson, who handled Davis’s and Strauss Kahn’s multi-million-dollar bails, along with those of such bold-faced-name perps as Lil Wayne and Plaxico Burress.
“I give it a certain jurisdiction. Like in Anna’s case, only Monroe county where she lives, and her lawyer’s offices, and lower Manhattan for court,” Judelson explained.
“Not Queens,” he added. “That’s where the airports are.”
Gristina’s ankle bracelet comes by order of the state Appellate Division, which knocked her bail down from the original $2 million after a successful bail-reduction hearing — during which two of the judges invoked the former IMF chief in lauding the device.
As the Hon. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels put it, “That Strauss. He had an ankle bracelet.”
“It’s not a good look with shorts, that’s for sure,” concedes Manny Scharon of Secure Alert Monitoring Center AKA Accurate Trace who snapped the device on Davis’s ankle four years ago, and is set to do Gristina’s today or tomorrow.
Scharon says he uses a special, wrench-like tool to affix the device’s titanium-reinforced strap, strong enough to thwart even the strongest bolt cutter. “The Jaws of Life could get it off, with the right leverage,” he said.
Or, as Davis advises Gristina, “It’s pretty snug, and it’s not going anywhere. You’re showering with that sucker. It’s on for good.”