TODAY

TODAY   |  June 14, 2012

‘Soccer Mom Madam’: My family is ‘devastated’

TODAY’s Matt Lauer sat down at Rikers Island with Anna Gristina, the woman charged with running a prostitution ring from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The mother of four spoke with Matt about her family and the “matchmaking service” for married men she maintains was legal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we begin this half hour with the exclusive interview with the woman dubbed the soccer mom madam. anna gristina is being held at reicher's island accused of running a multi-million dollar manhattan escort service . this week her legal team filed a motion to have her bacase dismissed and her bail was lowered. and we began by asking gristina what the past four months have been like for her and for her family.

>> for my family it's just devastating. my husband is having a really hard time holding it together and my son, the young one --

>> nicholas?

>> mm-hmm.

>> does he know anything about what's happening with you, anna ?

>> 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.

>> an emotional anna gristina, the woman prosecutors say is a high powered madam at the center of an alleged prostitution ring , the mother of four from a quiet suburban new york town .

>> the prosecution is accusing of of running a brothel.

>> she is will not comment until the time of trial.

>> reporter: if i had asked new the past had you run a data service, matchmaking service connecting wealthy men to women, how would you answer that question?

>> i watched a show called "the millionaire matchmaker ." a friend of mine had suggested you'd be really good at it. so hi looked into opening up something called you know, the same thing.

>> married men looking to have someone to have dinner with?

>> very much like match.com.

>> would it also include married men looking for someone to have sex with?

>> i think we've answered that question. very much like match.com.

>> if i say to you had you ever connected a married man or any man for that matter with a woman in a matchmaking service, have you done that?

>> our response would be you sound like the manhattan district attorney's office.

>> so you won't say to me at all whether you have been involved in running any kind of a legitimate, legal dating service in the past?

>> given the state's allegations in this case, we'd be fools to answer your question.

>> during the five-year investigation by the district attorney's office, gristina was allegedly caught on wire taps boasting of her close ties to law enforcement . do you recall at any time ever telling someone that you knew people in law enforcement who might able to tip you off if you were about to be april rested or help if you you were arrested?

>> if the manhattan district attorney's office has that conversation, i want to hear it. i'm not going to try the case by innuendo.

>> it would be problematic for anna to have had a conversation of having friends in law enforcement who would tip her off to a possible arrest because why would she be afraid or considering a possible arrest.

>> why would it be problematic?

>> i've never had a conversation with nen where i've talked to them about knowing people who could help me if i were arrested because i'm not afraid i was arrested.

>> i don't know that miss gristina was afraid of being arrested. i suspect you have said many things that could look sinister by a savvy questioner.

>> it was a small apartment. we kept ahold of it because my daughter had considered going to columbia and because the price was affordable.

>> there was no business run out of that location?

>> no.

>> at the time you were aprrrested or any time prior to that when you were control of that apartment?

>> no.

>> i think you said in an interview you gave that you felt the prosecutors were trying to sweat you. by that you mean what? that they were going to sit you here at reicher's island, which for people who nt aren't from the new york area is a fairly notorious tough place?

>> yes.

>> and they were going to sit you here until u decided to cooperate.

>> yes.

>> you still feel that way?

>> 100%. not a doubt in my mind.

>> you are incredibly loyal to some people you describe as people who were friends of yours for many years. do you feel those people are returning your loyalty?

>> i have no idea. have i no communication with anybody. i don't. i really don't know because i don't reach anybody.

>> if you could reach some of those people, would you ask for help?

>> yeah. i definitely would ask and would hope that they would come forward.

>> in a sworn affidavit filed on tuesday, her legal team contends after she was picked up by investigators, they pressed her for information on five prominent moneen. she was allegedly told she didn't need a lauer and refused to cooperate.

>> it started off very nice, like very passive, you know, we believe you could be very useful in a very big investigation we have.

>> they began to ask you much more specific questions about a list of names. how many names were on that list?

>> to the best of my recollection, five very prominent people.

>> according to your sworn affidavit, prosecutors wanted information on, a, a wealthy financier with interest in real estate art sports, a man from a politically prominent family in manhattan , a prominent banker and a prominent manhattan lauer . do you have any information about people or people like those people that could make life very uncomfortable for some prominent men in this city.

>> don't answer that. i don't know how to respond to that question. what sort of information do you have in mind, mr. lauer . you must have a reason for asking that question.

>> because your client said she feels she's being sweated here that, she's being kept at reicher's island because they're trying to sweat information out of her. i'm simply asking do you have any information about prominent men in this city that could make life very uncomfortable for them?

>> we don't believe she does.

>> soap you feel they're sweating you for absolutely no reason?

>> and i have nothing to give them. that's why i'm still here. i have nothing to give them.

>> we should note we reached out to the district attorney's office for comment. they do not discuss open cases. gristina says family and friends are working hard to come up with the money for her bail. she hopes to be