January 16, 2013

Attorney in Kennebunk prostitution case asks to quit

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Requests by attorney Daniel Lilley, above, to postpone and move the trial of his client, Mark Strong Sr., were denied Tuesday.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Melvyn Zarr, a professor at the University of Maine School of Law, said there isn't much case law on an attorney asking to withdraw from a case shortly before a trial, partly because the decision is ultimately up to the judge.

Zarr said he has been encouraging his law students to attend such hearings to get firsthand court experience, especially on difficult, high-profile cases.

The lead prosecutor in the case, York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan, opposed Lilley's motions to postpone the trial and change the venue.

She presented the judge with a preliminary list of 30 witnesses who have been subpoenaed for the trial, and said questionnaires have been sent to 250 potential jurors.

The list of witnesses includes 12 state police officers, including four from the Major Crimes Unit; police officers from municipal departments; cellphone company and bank representatives; a witness from Toppings Pizza in Kennebunk; landlords for Wright's studio and business office; and Kennebunk's building inspector.

McGettigan said she may add witnesses. Lilley has yet to introduce a list of witnesses, but said at the news conference that he expects to call people from Wright's alleged client list of about 150 people, possibly including some who haven't been charged.

Wright allegedly kept detailed records of her clients, including prominent figures -- one reason the case has drawn international attention.

Kennebunk police have been listing the people charged as Wright's clients on biweekly arrest blotters. The initial lists, released in the fall, included as many as 21 names, but more recent lists have included only one or two, with some blotters listing no new names in the case.

Other suspects have pleaded guilty before criminal complaints could be issued against them.

At least 66 people have been charged with the misdemeanor of engaging a prostitute in connection with Wright. As of Tuesday, 17 men had pleaded guilty or been found guilty and been fined. Fourteen of them have been identified previously.

Since Jan.1, three more have pleaded guilty in York County Superior Court: Robert Labonte, 62, of 8 New County Road in Saco; Clinton Ray, 41, of 150 Falmouth St. in Portland; and James Ferreira, 49, of 165 Sandy Hill Road in South Portland.

Labonte was fined $1,000 plus $210 in fees and court costs. Ray and Ferreira were fined $500 each plus $110 in fees and court costs.

The District Attorney's Office identified the three men this week in response to a Freedom of Access request filed by the Portland Press Herald.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

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