February 21, 2013

Strong was smitten lover, not 'pimp,' lawyer says

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Mark Strong Sr. listens to opening statements Wednesday during the first day of his trial in the Kennebunk prostitution case.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan delivers her opening statements on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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The man also said that he felt police wouldn't arrest someone without evidence.

Lilley asked the man, "Do you want to be a juror in this case?"

"I do," the man responded.

After the man had been led out of the library, McGettigan argued to dismiss him. She was interrupted by Lilley, who said, "You can stop. We agree."

They then questioned a medical assistant who is a mother of two, a woman who assists her husband at his chiropractic business, and a man who was a police officer in Kennebunk in the early 1970s. They accepted all three as finalists, and the three were on the jury that was seated by 12:30 p.m.

In each round of questioning, Mills asked the first questions, followed by McGettigan and then Lilley. Questions varied from person to person, focusing on their jobs, their families, what they had heard about the case and whether their backgrounds or beliefs about the case would prevent them from being fair and impartial.

Lilley asked each: "Do you want to be a juror in this case?"

The medical assistant said she knew very little about the details of the case and had not read or heard news accounts about it.

"I know there was a Zumba studio ring for prostitution. I know that's what the rumor is; I don't know if it's true or not," she said.

The woman who assists her chiropractor husband said she learned from hearing other potential jurors talk about the case that she knew much less about it than the others did.

"I heard the word Zumba on the very first day and put two and two together," said the woman, the mother of two grown children.

The former Kennebunk police officer said he served in the department for only three or four years in the early 1970s and no longer knows anyone on the force. He also said he knew very little about the case.

"I heard about the studio in Kennebunk and saw Mr. Strong's and Alexis Wright's pictures on TV," he said. "That's really about all I know about it."

After selecting those three as finalists, the lawyers took a 15-minute break to decide how to use their allotted challenges, called peremptory strikes.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are not required to give reasons when using the strikes. Lilley and McGettigan presented them to the judge at the side of her bench.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, is accused of conspiring with Wright to run a one-woman prostitution business from her studio in Kennebunk.

Wright, 30, of Wells, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts, including promotion of prostitution, engaging in prostitution, conspiracy, tax offenses, receiving welfare benefits when ineligible -- and 46 counts of violation of privacy.

Her attorney, Sarah Churchill, said she will ask the judge to dismiss the latter charges. Wright's trial is scheduled to start in May.

The case has drawn so much attention in part because Wright is suspected of keeping a meticulous list of customers, including prominent figures. Sixty-six have been charged, and 18 had been convicted by the end of 2012. The 18 have been called as witnesses in Strong's trial.

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

sdolan@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Mark Strong Sr.'s attorney Daniel Lilley gives his opening statements in the Kennebunk prostitution case in York County Superior Court on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

  


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