NYPD corruption trial: Ex-prostitute testimony details Las Vegas weekend
The Manhattan federal court NYPD corruption trial took a trip on the seamy side Thursday as an ex-prostitute took the stand to describe how she was hired to dress up in a skimpy stewardess outfit on a private jet to Las Vegas and then have sex with former deputy inspector James Grant.
Gabriella Curtis, 29, known as Gabi Grecko at the time of the trip in 2013, said that after the three-day Las Vegas Super Bowl weekend arranged by Grant’s co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg with five men altogether, she was unhappy Grant only gave her $1,200 to $1,500.
“The fact I was with multiple people . . . I thought it would be more,” she said, but Grant told her, “If our team had done better then we would have been able to give you more.”
Reichberg, 44, and former partner Jona Rechnitz, are charged with giving out favors ranging from meals and gifts to home repairs to the prostitute for Grant, 45, and other cops, in return for escorts, access to public events, assistance with gun permits and other perks.
Curtis said she was at loose ends in 2013, trying to make money to escape a bad relationship when she got into hooking through a website called Sugar Daddies and a Miami-based escort service.
She met Reichberg, a businessman from Borough Park, Brooklyn, at a bachelor party in a Midtown hotel attended by 15 men where she performed sex acts. He got her phone number, she testified, and later called her to arrange for the Las Vegas trip.
In addition to Reichberg and Grant, she identified another man on the trip as “Jona” — a reference to Jona Rechnitz, Reichberg’s partner and the government’s star witness in the case, who has previously testified about his efforts to corrupt cops, union officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
She said the group’s suite at the MGM Grand had two rooms, and she stayed in one with Grant, but said her escort services were “for everyone who asked.”
Curtis is reportedly now engaged to an Australian businessman. Defense lawyers are expected to portray her as a not-credible fame seeker more interested in exposure than truth.
But in her direct testimony, Curtis said that after the NYPD corruption case broke, she did an interview with the New York Post in an effort to empower women, not out of self-interest.
“I hoped I could help other females. While females are slut-shamed, men get high-fives,” she said. “I didn’t do it to hurt anyone….I didn’t do it for fame.”
She said the whole experience was a disaster. The story, a tabloid sensation in the city, was the “exact opposite of what I wanted and most of it wasn’t true,” she testified, and the reporter started dating her for a month before it ended badly.
“I felt really isolated,” said Curtis. “ . . . This was a person who seemed as if he cared about me.”
If she does any more interviews, she said, she wanted them to be “feminist” interviews.
“I feel like I’m not even a person any more,” she said. “I feel like I’m just a hooker.”
During cross-examination Thursday afternoon, defense lawyers said they want to put in evidence that Curtis has posed in revealing outfits for news outlets since her brush with celebrity to contradict her story of exploitation. But U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods has said he may not allow it.