Gregory Rec / AP
Mark Strong, Sr. talks with his attorney Dan Lilley after Justice Nancy Mills dropped most of the charges against Strong in January.
Prosecutors in Maine will seek Wednesday to reinstate dozens of charges dropped against a man who is accused of helping a Zumba instructor run a prostitution ring from her studio in the seaside town of Kennebunk.
Forty-six misdemeanor counts against Mark Strong, Sr., 57, were dropped in January by Judge Nancy Mills, leaving 13 counts, including promotion of prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The judge decided to halt the trial pending an appeal of her decision to drop the charges, all of which have to do with invasion of privacy.
Dance instructor Alexis Wright is accused of using her Pura Vida Zumba studio as a front – she’s been charged with 106 counts, including engaging in prostitution. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and is expected to go on trial later this year.
The charges of invasion of privacy against Wright and Strong are based on the accusation that Wright secretly videotaped herself engaging in sexual acts with her clients.
Persons engaging in criminal acts do not have the same right to privacy enjoyed by other people, the trial judge said last month.
The alleged patrons “may have had a subjective expectation of privacy, but I can’t find an objective expectation of privacy that society would be prepared to accept,” Mills said in court in January.
Prosecutors will seek to have those charges reinstated on Wednesday in Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court.
“The state’s position on this appeal is contrary to reason, common sense, and the interests of society,” defense attorney Dan Lilley wrote in a brief submitted on January 27.
Strong’s case in York County Superior Court was a puttering non-starter at the end of January, as jury selection that was expected to take a day dragged on a week, interrupted first by a case filed by a local newspaper to gain access to closed jury proceedings.
The trial was then stopped entirely when the charges were dropped against Strong. Jury selection could begin quickly after the Maine high court’s ruling.
Attorneys for Wright filed an amicus brief in support of Strong in the Supreme Judicial Court on Feb. 4, stating that Wright has “a vested interest in the resolution of this appeal.”