Strong, attorneys and potential jurors wait for high court ruling in Kennebunk prostitution case

Posted Jan. 28, 2013, at 8:52 a.m.

ALFRED, Maine — Potential jurors for the Mark Strong Sr. trial were instructed Sunday to call in again Monday morning to see whether proceedings would start in the afternoon. The more than 100 York County residents are still waiting, along with the judge, lawyers and spectators, to see whether the trial will go forward as planned after being brought to a halt following a prosecutors’ appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Friday.

That appeal came after Judge Nancy Mills dismissed 46 of the 59 counts Strong was facing. The dismissed charges were all related to the invasion of privacy prosecutors felt the alleged johns in the case suffered when they were unknowingly and allegedly videotaped having sex for pay with Alexis Wright, 30, of Wells. Prosecutors say Wright and Strong worked together to tape the alleged clients and to run a prostitution operation out of her Kennebunk Zumba studio, office space and her homes.

Wright is facing more than 100 charges, including prostitution and tax evasion, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her case is expected to go to trial in May, though there are indications that a plea deal is not out of the question.

Strong’s attorney, Daniel Lilley, said Friday that the appeal filed by prosecutors was a “last-ditch attempt” to shore up what he characterized as an already weak case. Lilley filed a counter motion to that appeal and further requested that the court expedite the process.

He said if the court takes longer to decide, the potential jury pool will be dismissed and then the case could take months to come back to trial.

Outside the Alfred courthouse Friday, Strong said he just wanted to get the trial over so he could get his life back. He had supporters in the court that day. Three women and a man sat a few rows back in the courthouse, watching the proceedings. Strong sat with them during a break in the proceedings and even managed a smile.

As the day ended with no more progress, though, Strong, when asked, said he wasn’t feeling much of anything about either the dismissal or the appeal.

“I’ve been kind of numb for a period of time now,” he said.