PORTLAND, Maine — The former Kennebunk fitness instructor who secretly helped run a prostitution business out of her Zumba studio has no plans for a get-rich-quick tell-all book, her lawyer said.
Alexis Wright, who is due to be released Nov. 23 after serving a little more than half her 10-month sentence for tax evasion and prostitution-related charges, gained international notoriety for her role in the small-town scandal that quickly became a media sensation.
“I know there are people out there who have believed [a book deal] was part and parcel of this whole thing all along, but that really has never been the case,” said defense attorney Sarah Churchill, who represented Wright in court.
In a case that drew international attention and made easy tabloid fodder, Wright secretly captured encounters with clients on video so that Thomaston-based business partner Mark Strong could watch remotely. Wright, who pleaded guilty to 20 counts in March, then told the court before her sentencing that Strong tricked her into believing they were operatives investigating sexual deviants for the government.
She said she was vulnerable to manipulation by Strong, a private investigator and insurance broker, because of a history of childhood abuse by her father.
In addition to the barrage of regular news coverage from media outlets all over the country, the story became an hourlong documentary shown on the TLC cable network. Entertainment experts opined that the case — a single mother in a quaint seaside town living a sordid double life — could be Hollywood gold.
But while Wright’s life story may have bestseller written all over it, her lawyer told the Bangor Daily News last week she has no plans to write that book.
“At this point in time, there’s no plan for that,” said Churchill. “At this point, she wants to get out, get her life back to normal and move on.”
She said her client is being released because of good behavior and participation in a jail work program.
Churchill said she believes Wright will integrate easily back into society after her release, despite all the attention she has received.
“She’s got good family support,” Churchill said. “She’s got a good head on her shoulders.”
Wright’s husband, Jason Trowbridge, was outspoken in support of Wright during and after her court proceedings.
Wright pleaded guilty to 14 counts of engaging in prostitution, one count of promotion of prostitution, one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution and two counts each of theft by deception and state income tax evasion.
Among the charges dropped by prosecutors from the York County district attorney’s office and the state attorney general’s office as part of a plea deal were dozens of counts of invasion of privacy and welfare fraud.
Strong was sentenced to 20 days in jail in late March after being convicted by a jury of 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution. He was released after 15 days because of good behavior.
Police claimed that Wright kept a detailed client ledger with as many as 150 names on it, stoking widespread public speculation about whether any prominent local individuals would be revealed as johns.
Ultimately, 68 people — including a former mayor, lawyer and local minister — were charged with engaging in prostitution. Despite police comments in the spring that as many as 40 more could be added to that list, a judge’s decision that Wright effectively could not be forced to testify against the alleged clients prevented additional summonses.