The Washington Post

Brothel madam or pig rescuer? Bizarre investigation continues in New York

This one was made for the tabloids.

(Angie Mosier)

But in a New York Times report on a court hearing Tuesday, watchers of the case got some new information: Gristina rescued pigs.

Prosecutors maintain that Gristina ran a prostitution ring out of a building on the East side, where her well-connected friends visited after midnight in fancy cars, and where neighbors saw glamorous women come in and out at all hours.

Gristina’s defense argues that she was just an entrepreneur who met with busi­ness ­peo­ple while trying to set up a dating site that would rival On Tuesday, the Times report said, Gristina’s lawyer accused the prosecution “hypocrisy,” referring to disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who got caught up in a scandal involving a prostitute and resigned from office. “Eliot Spitzer gets a pass, and the females all go to jail,” Peter J. Gleason said.

But Susan Magidson of Bucks County, Pa., told the Times that Gristina was someone else altogether: “A demure, plain-living mother of four with a special empathy for the animals.”

Magidson runs Ross Mill Farm & Piggy Camp, a facility that raises and rescues pigs to be household pets. Magidson told the Times that she worked with Gristina rescuing pet pigs from “unsuitable” homes and that she placed six pigs with Gristina for foster care over the years.

“We identify the pigs who need homes, and we try to match-make,” she said of the pig rescue efforts.

Gristina has pleaded not guilty to a single count of promoting prostitution, punishable by up to seven years in prison, and is being held at Rikers Island.

She has not been able to make her $1 million bail. But, according to a court transcript, Gristina told prosecutors at her arraignment on Feb. 23 that if needed, she had powerful allies “poised to help.”


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