Monday, March 10, 2014
ALFRED — Less than three months after being sentenced to jail, the former Zumba instructor at the center of a Kennebunk prostitution scandal that captured international attention will appear in court again Thursday, this time to fight having to testify at the trial of one of her alleged clients.
Alexis Wright is expected to be back in court Thursday to testify in the trial of her alleged client Donald Hill. (Press Herald file photo)
Alexis Wright, now serving her third month of a 10-month sentence in the York County Jail, has been subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify at the trial of Donald Hill, the former Kennebunk High School hockey coach who is charged with engaging Wright for prostitution in 2011.
Hill, who has pleaded not guilty to the single misdemeanor count, is the first of 68 people charged with paying Wright for sex to bring the matter to trial. At least 58 of those 68 have already pleaded guilty or pleaded no contest.
Thursday's hearing in York County Superior Court will come four days before Hill, 53, of Old Orchard Beach, is scheduled to go on trial.
York County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gordon said his office has anticipated that Wright will exercise her Fifth Amendment right not to testify on grounds that her testimony could be used against her. He said he foresees offering her assurances that she would not be charged with any new crimes.
"We would anticipate granting her immunity on the state level," Gordon said.
Gordon said he also expects to present a letter from federal authorities saying that they will not charge Wright based on her testimony.
Wright is scheduled to be transported from jail Thursday to attend the hearing, where she will be joined by her attorney, Sarah Churchill.
Wright, 30, of Wells, pleaded guilty March 29 to 14 counts of engaging in prostitution and six other misdemeanors, avoiding a trial that attorneys anticipated could have lasted six weeks and created a media spectacle.
In addition to the jail time, Wright must pay more than $58,000 in fines and restitution, including more than $40,000 for theft of welfare benefits and more than $16,000 in taxes for unreported income.
Wright's plea followed the jury trial of her business partner, Mark Strong Sr., who was convicted on March 6 of promotion of prostitution after nearly two weeks of witness testimony.
Strong, 57, of Thomaston, has already completed his sentence, serving a portion of a 20-day term in jail.
Strong also has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness at Hill's trial. It is unclear whether he will contest the subpoena. He did not return a phone message seeking comment.
The case against Wright began on Valentine's Day 2012 with a police raid at her Zumba studio and business office in Kennebunk.
It put communities on edge late last year as police charged wave after wave of "johns" from Wright's client list of more than 140 names.
Kennebunk police have said they are continuing to investigate 40 more people on that list and may charge more this summer.
Hill's attorney, Gary Prolman, declined to comment, citing a judge's instructions.
Hill faces a maximum fine of $1,000 if convicted.
Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at: