ALFRED, Maine — The attorney for Thomaston businessman Mark Strong has asked Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills to lift her order that bars him from talking with the media about his client’s prostitution case.
Daniel Lilley of Portland filed the motion Thursday with Mills.
“A gag order is a prior restraint on speech and, as such, is the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights,” Lilley stated in his motion, claiming that a total ban on lawyers’ comments to the media is unconstitutional.
Lilley maintained in his motion that there are alternatives to a gag order such as more extensive questioning of potential jurors to make sure they have not been tainted by pretrial publicity, postponing the trial until the publicity lessens, sequestering the jury once it is picked or moving the trial outside York County.
Lilley earlier had asked for a change of venue but Mills did not grant it.
Strong’s trial remains in limbo with an appeal being considered by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on whether Mills’ decision to dismiss all invasion of privacy charges against Strong was correct. The York County district attorney’s office appealed Mills’ ruling.
Strong, 57, is charged with multiple counts of promotion of prostitution in regard to an alleged prostitution operation at Alexis Wright’s Zumba dance studio in Kennebunk.
After the law court issues its ruling on the appeal, Strong will return to trial at the Superior Court level on either 13 or 59 charges, depending on whether the higher court upholds the dismissal of the 46 privacy invasion counts.
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.