Longtime ex-CNN producer John Griffin had marital trouble prior to sex trafficking arrest
CNN called the charges against former senior producer John Griffin 'disturbing' and fired him Tuesday
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime ex-CNN producer John Griffin had been having marital trouble with his wife for months before the FBI arrested him in Connecticut on sex crimes charges last Friday, sources tell Fox News Digital.
He's currently on his way to Vermont to be arraigned on the sex trafficking indictment that could land him behind bars for up to life.
But back home, the 44-year-old had already moved out of the $4 million house he shared with his wife Allyson Griffin and their three children, according to a man who has maintained their 44-foot Chris-Craft Commander yacht, named Eleanor after the wife’s middle name. He said that Griffin told him he'd begun renting an apartment and the two were separated.
"In the summer, he said his wife wasn't allowed to use the boat," the marina worker told Fox News Digital Tuesday. "We had to lock it up. Then he came back in July and said, it's OK, she can use it again."
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Another worker at the marina said the pair appeared to be trying to repair their marriage and had at least once taken the boat out as a family later in the summer.
Allyson Griffin, wearing a strained expression, paced outside her 5,133-square-foot house Tuesday afternoon smoking four days after her husband was locked up for allegedly abusing minors – including a 9-year-old girl. She spoke on the phone frantically and at one point buried her face in her hand.
Earlier in the day, she dispatched a nanny to the Rowayton Hardware store to buy her a pack of Parliaments, a clerk said.
A guard manning the entrance to the exclusive Wilson Point enclave overlooking the Long Island sound said she was distraught Tuesday morning and told them not to let any media through the front gate.
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The boatyard worker said he wasn't particularly fond of the husband, who could be brusque. "I don't like the guy," he said. "He just rubbed me the wrong way."
Workers at Rowayton Market recognized Allyson Griffin as a regular shopper, and a manager at Sails American Grill said the couple ate there regularly, but they hadn't been there in months.
A neighbor at the Griffins’ old address in Norwalk told Fox News Digital that Griffin’s arrest stunned her.
The Griffin family moved out in 2017 and was "very well-connected and on every local board," she said. There was a constant stream of people in and out of their house, including nannies and cleaners. She went over there for drinks once, and said they seemed "perfectly normal."
The couple also owned a house in a Vermont ski town where John Griffin allegedly lured mothers and their underage daughters over messaging apps and the "fetish"-oriented dating site Alt.com, according to a federal indictment.
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Griffin, a longtime producer and friend of fellow fallen former CNN newsman Chris Cuomo, allegedly stated "on several occasions" last year that "a woman is a woman regardless of her age," prosecutors alleged.
Last year the couple used a limited liability corporation to purchase the ski chalet in Ludlow, Vermont.
Between April and July 2020, John Griffin then allegedly invited three women and their underage daughters over "for the purposes of sexual training," according to the indictment.
One woman allegedly made the trip on July 15 – with her 9-year-old daughter, court documents state.
In that case, he allegedly paid more than $3,300 to fly them from Nevada to Boston – then picked them up at the airport in a red Tesla Model X and drove them back to the house, according to the indictment.
"The child was directed to engage in and did engage in illegal sexual activity," the indictment reads.
Griffin began communicating with that woman on June 14, according to the indictment. Immediately before that, on June 12 and 13, he was allegedly communicating with the mother of a 16-year-old girl.
He allegedly invited them to take "a little mother-daughter trip" to the Ludlow house "for sexual training," according to the indictment.
The first communications came between April 7 and 13, a month and a half after he "acquired" the Vermont house, according to the indictment – and shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic officially broke out.
He allegedly proposed an online video "training" session involving a woman and her 14-year-old daughter.
Griffin is facing three counts of sex trafficking minors. Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of the Vermont house, his interest in the LLC that owns it, the Model X, electronic devices and a 2019 Mercedes Benz GTA.
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The FBI arrested him in Stamford, Connecticut, on Friday – 17 months after he allegedly picked up the 9-year-old and her mom at Boston’s Logan Airport. CNN called the charges "disturbing" and fired him Tuesday.
U.S. Marshals in Connecticut told Fox News Wednesday that Griffin was in the custody of U.S. Marshals in Vermont. But Fox later learned that he was being held at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island and left the facility Thursday morning.
Griffin's attorney David Kirby didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Photo Illustration" has been added to the mugshot of John Griffin.