January 23, 2013

Kennebunk prostitution jury pool quizzed in secret

The Press Herald files an objection with the court, saying the judge's decision violates the First and Sixth Amendments.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Mark Strong and his attorney Daniel Lilley enter York County Superior Court in Alfred after returning from a lunch break on Tuesday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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Mark Strong Sr. listens to the judge during his arraignment at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Oct. 9, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanors, including promotion of prostitution, violation of privacy and conspiracy to commit those misdemeanors.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

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Tuesday’s jury selection was conducted behind closed doors until 4:37 p.m., when all 145 potential jurors were led back into the courtroom. Media members were initially denied entry, then allowed in to stand and watch.

Justice Mills recited the numbers of 50 prospective jurors, telling them that they were excused from the case. She ordered the other 95 to return Wednesday morning to resume the selection process.

“Please do not discuss this case with anyone,” Mills said. She ordered them not to read, listen to or watch any media reports about the case.

After jurors were dismissed for the day, Mills allowed members of the media to approach the bench to discuss why they were barred from the day’s proceedings.

She acknowledged that she had received the letter from the Press Herald. “I understand they want to make legal arguments,” Mills said.

The judge said her priority was to seat a jury, and she did not want to allow the media to attend the questioning of individual jurors. She distributed copies of the juror questionnaire to five media outlets.

Jurors were asked in the questionnaire whether they had heard or read anything about the cases against Strong or Wright, or other people charged in the case; whether they know or are acquainted with any of the 72 potential witnesses who may be called in the trial; and 38 other questions ranging from their views on religion, adultery and prostitution to whether viewing pornography and graphic pictures would be difficult for them.

Strong’s attorney, Daniel Lilley, had sought a change of venue, saying that too many people in York County had heard about the case and formed opinions. The judge denied that motion.

Lilley, who is usually open with the press, declined to comment on Tuesday’s events as he walked to the courthouse parking lot with Strong and his co-counsel, Tina Nadeau.

“There’s really nothing I can tell you,” Lilley said. “The judge wants us to pick a jury first.”

The judge set a motions hearing for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, to be followed by a resumption of jury selection at 9 a.m.

Strong’s trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at: sdolan@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Attorney Daniel Lilley, left, and his client Mark Strong enter York County Superior Court in Alfred after returning from a lunch break on Tuesday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

  


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