PORTLAND, Maine – Julie Strong, wife of Mark Strong Sr., said the high-profile Kennebunk prostitution case in which her husband was convicted earlier this month began as a nightmare, but helped reform the Thomaston businessman.
Both Julie Strong and her husband gave emotional testimony during his sentencing hearing in the Cumberland County courthouse Thursday morning. Mark Strong Sr. was convicted by a jury of 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution on March 6.
“I plead with you to go easy on my husband,” Julie Strong said to Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills while sobbing. “He truly has learned from this experience.
“What started as my worst nightmare I could ever imagine has turned into God’s greatest gift, because it’s given me a new marriage and a new husband, who is the man I always knew he was,” she continued.
Mills called for a brief recess in the hearing about 9:45 a.m. so Julie Strong, who was accompanied at the lectern by one of the couple’s sons, could collect herself. The judge did not decide on a sentence before the recess and is expected to do so soon after Julie Strong’s testimony is completed.
Prosecutors from the York County district attorney’s office, saying Strong showed no remorse for his crimes and tried to shift blame onto police and prosecutors, have recommended 364 days in jail with a concurrent 180-day sentence for the conspiracy charge and two consecutive suspended 36-day sentences added on. Prosecutors also are seeking $2,000 in fines for each promotion count, adding up to a $24,000 penalty.
Defense attorneys Daniel Lilley and Tina Nadeau have sought 14 days or fewer in jail with a total of $2,000 in fines.
Strong was charged with helping part-time fitness instructor Alexis Wright run a prostitution business out of her Kennebunk Zumba studio.
Wright, who is engaged in settlement talks with prosecutors, faces a separate trial, which is scheduled to begin in May if no plea agreement is reached.