October 26, 2012

Prostitution case should be dismissed says lawyer

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED  --  The lawyer for a Thomaston businessman accused of promoting prostitution in Kennebunk is arguing Friday that the case should be dismissed and that the judge should recuse herself.

Mark Strong Sr., a 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator, was charged last month with promotion of prostitution, a misdemeanor, in connection with an alleged prostitution operation in Kennebunk.

In his motion to dismiss, Daniel Lilley, Strong's lawyer, said he should have received documents and other evidence from prosecutors by Aug. 10 but has not. He has also questioned how his client could be charged with promotion of prostitution when no one has been charged with prostitution.

This week, Lilley filed another motion asking that Justice Joyce Wheeler recuse herself because of possible bias or the appearance of bias.

The problem, according to Lilley, is that Wheeler's law clerk, Jonathan Nathans, is married to Assistant Attorney General Kate Lawrence , who is part of the prosecution.

Superior Court Chief Justice Thomas Humphrey specially assigned Wheeler to the high-profile York County case. There was a concern that if a judge who normally sits in York County knew any of the witnesses, he or she would have to be recused.

Police in February searched the home of Alexis Wright, the studio where she taught Zumba and a nearby office space. Strong was arrested in July.

Wright has not been charged, but According to a police affidavit, the searches turned up video footage of Wright engaged in sexual acts, a price list and "meticulous" client records.

Lilley has said that Wright hired Strong to investigate her complaints of harassment by Kennebunk police. Strong loaned Wright money, thinking he was investing in a legitimate business venture, according to Lilley.

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