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Ethical for 'NYC Madam's' Attorney To Post Her $2M Bond?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 13, 2012 5:57 AM

Accused NYC Madam Anna Gristina is still being held on a $2 million bond despite the fact attorney Peter Gleason claims she "doesn't have two nickels to rub together." The mother of four is accused of running a multi-million dollar high-end prostitution ring for almost 15 years.

But on Monday, Gleason presented a solution to her problem. He offered to put up his $2.5 million TriBeCa loft as collateral for her release. He's even offered to allow her, her children and her husband to stay at the condo if she is barred from leaving the city.

The New York Post claims this is not unethical. But isn't it?

If you take a look at ABA Model Rule 1.8(e) or your state's equivalent,  you'll see that lawyers are prohibited from providing financial assistance to a client in connection with a pending case. The only exception is when an attorney is advancing court costs and litigation expenses.

Does bail or bond count as a court cost or expense? And doesn't posting bond have the same effect as lending your client money, which is a financial entanglement prohibited by many other ethics rules?

The whole thing seems sort of questionable, but Peter Gleason appears to be out to make a name for himself. He's really gunning for this position.

He and Anna Gristina's other attorney also spent some of Monday's hearing battling it out. The court appointed Richard Siracusa, but Gristina chose Gleason. The two claim they are interfering with one another's efforts, reports the New York Daily News. Gleason asked the court to fire Siracusa, but prosecutors don't believe Gristina should be able to choose her tax-funded attorney.

Could Peter Gleason be the next Jose Baez?

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