Thursday, April 17, 2014
Alexis Wright and Mark Strong, the two major defendants in the Zumba prostitution case, are asking for separate trials.
The lawyers for the two filed separate motions in York County Superior Court on Friday.
Daniel Lilley, Strong's lawyer, said his client's case should be separated from Wright's because she is facing more serious felony charges than Strong, who has been charged with misdemeanors.
"It is guilt by association and we would just as soon go this month on our own, by ourselves," said Lilley.
The motions are the latest legal maneuvering in the case which has grabbed national attention as Kennebunk police continue to periodically release the names of men charged with engaging a prostitute. So far 54 names have been released with nearly 100 more expected in the coming weeks.
Wright, 29, of Wells, a former Zumba instructor operating out of a Kennebunk studio, was indicted by a York County grand jury last month on 106 counts, including promoting prostitution, engaging in prostitution, invasion of privacy, tax offenses and illegally receiving welfare benefits.
Strong, 57, a Thomaston businessman, was indicted on 59 misdemeanors, including promoting prostitution, violation of privacy and conspiracy.
Lilley said the state is trying to have a single trial to save on the expense of two separate proceedings.
Lilley earlier filed two other motions, one to dismiss the charges against Strong on the grounds the state failed to provide its evidence against his client in a timely manner, and another for a speedy trial for Strong.
"We are trying to get a trial before Christmas. We would like to go this month," said Lilley.
Lilley said with the Kennebunk police continuing to issue summonses and release names of the suspected clients piecemeal, the trial will be pushed well into next year.
York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan declined to comment.
Sarah Churchill of Saco, Wright's lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment via telephone and email. In her motion, she argued that the trials should be separated because Wright is not asking for a trial before the end of the year, since she needs time to file motions challenging evidence in the case.
Lilley said he expects Judge Nancy Mills to rule on his three motions sometime this week.
Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org