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Zumba trial: How much porn should jurors watch?

A Maine judge decided Tuesday not to dismiss charges against Zumba prostitution defendant Mark Strong. Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills is also expected to decide whether to allow in court 577 "extremely sexual" Skype screenshots that the defense has argued would unfairly prejudice the jury.

The defense attorney for Strong, 57, warned of the graphic nature of the images and said Monday they would "drown" his client, according to the Bangor Daily News.

"I think some of this stuff is going to horrify some of these people to the point where he won't possibly get a fair trial," defense attorney Daniel Lilley said.

But prosecutors allege that the images are crucial evidence showing that Strong was involved in running a prostitution ring out of Alexis Wright's Pura Vida Zumba studio in Kennebunk. Wright is due to stand trial separately.

"The state has to prove that Mark Strong was actively involved in the prostitution [business]," Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan told Justice Mills on Monday. "Part of that active involvement was that he was monitoring the prostitution from his Thomaston location through Skype."

Also discussed on Tuesday was a motion filed by the defense to dismiss the remaining charges against Strong. Defense attorney Lilley has accused the prosecution of missing deadlines to turn over documents related to the case.

"Enough is enough," defense counsel Tina Nadeau said Tuesday. Dismissing the charges against Strong would be a fitting rebuttal to prosecutors, she said.

The judge will instead issue a special instruction to jurors. Mills also decided on Tuesday to order prosecutors to give the defense a file on a Kennebunk police officer.

The trial is to continue with witness testimony on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald reported, and Mills has yet to come to a decision on how many pornographic images the jury will see.

Strong is on trial for 13 charges related to promotion of prostitution. Forty-six charges related to alleged violations of privacy were dismissed by the judge in a decision affirmed by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Feb. 15. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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