Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Mark Strong Sr. comforts his wife Julie after she became emotional while addressing Justice Nancy Mills during Strong's sentencing at Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland on Thursday.
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
Mark Strong Sr. leaves the Cumberland County Courthouse and is taken to jail after receiving a 20-day sentence and a $3,000 fine for his role in the Zumba prostitution case.
"I believe a jail sentence is warranted," Mills said. "I intend for you to begin this sentence today. And if you do the math, you will be released in time for your son's wedding."
Before the sentencing hearing began, Mills heard and denied a motion by Strong's other attorney, Tina Nadeau, seeking to deny 12 of the 13 counts against Strong on grounds that prosecutors were not specific enough in their allegations against him to warrant the promotion of prostitution charges.
Members of the media were told to leave the courtroom before Strong was taken into custody by court officers. He was led, still dressed in his suit, outside the courthouse and onto a prisoner transportation bus. He was taken first to the Cumberland County Jail and will be transferred to the York County Jail.
Outside the courthouse, Lilley said he had filed an appeal of the verdicts and took issue with a question by one reporter who asked whether he was pleased with the "lenient" sentence.
"These are misdemeanors. These are not lenient sentences," Lilley said. "This is a rather large sentence for misdemeanors."
The lead prosecutor in the case, York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan, said the prosecutors and Kennebunk police who investigated the case were "very satisfied" with the sentence.
McGettigan argued in sentencing that both a ledger and videos clearly document the prostitution business.
"This was not a man in love. This was not a voyeur. This was a hard-nosed businessman," McGettigan said, mentioning Strong's success running his insurance and photography businesses. "He used that same business acumen to develop this prostitution business."
Wright, 30, of Wells, is scheduled to stand trial in May on 106 counts, including promotion of prostitution, engaging in prostitution, violation of privacy, conspiracy, tax offenses and receiving welfare benefits when ineligible.
Wright last appeared in court on March 13 for plea negotiations in Portland with her attorney, Sarah Churchill.
Churchill filed a motion Wednesday, saying that because another settlement conference is scheduled March 29, she is asking that her deadline to file pretrial motions on Wright's behalf be extended to April 16.
The judge has ordered Churchill to file pretrial motions by March 26.
Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at
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Mark Strong Sr. listens to the proceedings prior to his sentencing in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Thursday morning.
Greg Rec / Staff Photographer