PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court gave Thomaston businessman Mark Strong a major victory Friday when it upheld a Superior Court judge’s decision to dismiss 46 criminal counts against the defendant.
The court agreed that the state had not adequately proven that the elements of invasion of privacy pertained in this case and, therefore, threw out 46 counts of invasion of privacy.
There remain 13 counts of promotion of prostitution.
Jury selection in the trial in York County Superior Court in Alfred had been on hold pending the state high court ruling.
The court stated that people that enter a place for the expressed purpose of engaging a prostitute cannot qualify as persons entitled to privacy.
“Places of prostitution and people who knowingly frequent them to engage a prostitute are not sanctioned by society. Accordingly, it is objectively unreasonable for a person who knowingly enters a place of prostitution for the purpose of engaging a prostitute to expect that society recognizes a right to be safe from surveillance while inside,” the court stated.
Justice Nancy Mills had ruled last month that the charges should be dismissed.
Strong, 57, was charged in regard to an alleged prostitution operation at Alexis Wright’s Zumba dance studio in Kennebunk.
Wright, 29, is still awaiting trial.
Nearly 70 individuals have been charged with paying for sex with Wright, including 18 who have since pleaded guilty, paid fines and now are listed as potential witnesses in the Strong trial.
Telephone calls left with defense attorney Daniel Lilley and Assistant District Attorney Justina McGettigan were not immediately returned Friday.