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Man Convicted in Zumba Prostitution Trial

4:34 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
Mark Strong (WLBZ)
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ALFRED, Maine (WLBZ Bangor) -- After deliberating through the morning, a jury has found Mark Strong guilty of all charges against him.

Strong was on trial as one of two defendants in the Kennebunk Zumba Prostitution case. The state claims Strong managed a prostitution business allegedly run by Alexis Wright. He was facing 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy.

Wright, 30, faces more than 100 counts including prostitution and tax violations. She also has pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.

The prostitution scandal in Kennebunk attracted international attention after it was reported that Wright's ledgers indicated she had more than 150 clients and made $150,000 over 18 months. So far, more than 60 suspected johns have been charged.

The prosecution presented pictures, videos, emails, text messages and phone records. Strong also signed the lease for Wright's zumba studio in Kennebunk.

Prosecutor Justina McGettigan said Strong "controlled, supervised and managed" the business to the point that the fitness instructor took no action without his approval.

McGettigan said Wright was sending Strong spreadsheets with detailed customer information and pricing, including license plate numbers, which he checked out using his status as a private investigator. Wright wanted to confirm her clients' identities and have someone watching over the sex acts to stay safe, McGettigan said.

The defense argued that Strong was merely infatuated with Wright and got no financial gain from their interactions.

"A business partner without making any kind of money? What kind of a business partner is that?" defense attorney Dan Lilley told jurors in closing arguments.

Lawyers presented their closing arguments Tuesday afternoon. The judge gave her instructions to jurors and told them to start deliberating Wednesday morning.

Jurors decided the prosecution had the stronger case.

As the 13 charges were read aloud, Mark Strong remained expressionless.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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