The bodyguard shadowing accused high-class New York prostitution ring operator Anna Gristina for years was reportedly a moonlighting NYPD cop, working with the district attorney’s squad now prosecuting the alleged Manhattan madam.
Sly Francis, who according to Fox News once worked also as a driver for a first deputy commissioner under Ray Kelly, was assigned to a detail in the Manhattan DA’s office at the same time as he was working for Gristina — accused of operating a prostitution ring over 15 years — and now could face prosecution himself from the same office.
Manhattan DA investigators learned of Francis' connection with Gristina after seeing a New York Post photo of the Gristina sitting on his lap, attached to an article in which she revealed that prosecutors were "seeking dirt on 10 New York City powerbrokers," Fox reported.
Gristina, a legal US resident originally from the Scottish Highlands, has reportedly told the Post in an interview from Rikers Island that she recognized about half of the men on the list but that they were either friends or business associates.
"The ones I knew were people I’ve known for a long time who are in politics, investing and real estate," said the former real-estate broker and animal rescuer from Monroe, NY, who said she was starting an above-board dating service.
She said she did make millions but “for other people,” helping out friends with real-estate and other ventures.
The interview, cited by the Washington Post, as the New York Post operates behind a paywall, was Gristina's first since her Feb. 22 arrest for promoting prostitution, a charge to which she has pleaded not guilty.
She admitted to having boasted in phone calls that she knew people in high places — police officers, FBI agents and politicians — saying, "I know people. It’s like a politician. You say things to make yourself sound better."
The Wall Street Journal, meantime, wrote that Francis himself had boasted about his ties to Gristina, posting a link to the Post photo with Gristina on his Facebook page.
"Nice photo of me from back in the day," he reportedly wrote. A request via Facebook for an interview reportedly went unacknowledged by Francis.
Francis retired from the NYPD in 2002, after 17 years, 10 of which he spent as part of a team of detectives assigned to the Manhattan district attorney's office, which is prosecuting Gristina.