October 26, 2012

Judge refuses to dismiss Kennebunk prostitution case

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

(Continued from page 1)

"There's some suggestions ... that Mr. Strong is being selectively prosecuted. We just want to assure the court that is not the case," McGettigan said.

Wheeler said she wants a report by Sept. 21 on what has been provided to Lilley so she has some oversight of the process. Strong has a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 4.

Lilley told reporters after the hearing that his client has suffered under intense media coverage and can't get balance unless more information is made available to the defense.

"If we can get a trial and an acquittal, my client might be able to resurrect his life," he said.

In a separate motion filed this week, Lilley asked Wheeler to recuse herself. He said there is possible bias or the appearance of bias because one of the prosecutors, Kate Lawrence, is married to Jonathan Nathans, a law clerk for Wheeler.

McGettigan and Bernstein joined Lilley in his motion.

"I will just point out we have no problem with your honor's ability to sit on this case; it would be the question of how it would be viewed," McGettigan said.

Wheeler said Nathans is one of four law clerks based in Cumberland County who work with her and several other judges, primarily on civil cases. She said he has had no involvement in the case and he will not work on it.

She said she reviewed the section of the code of conduct regarding bias and found that none of the categories apply.

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

Strong did not attend Friday's hearing.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com

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