The Kennebunk prostitution trail got underway yesterday in York County Superior Court in Alfred.  Jury selection was finally completed in the Mark Strong Sr. case, and the attorneys made their opening statements.  Strong faces 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution.

Strong's attorney, Daniel Lilley said that it would be up to the jury to figure out if the state had legal evidence to prove that his client promoted prostitution, and if his client "intended to do" any wrongdoing.  He said that Mark Strong is a family man with a wife and family who entered into a sexual relationship with Zumba instructor Alexis Wright, and is guilty of "bad judgement". "He's not a saint, he's got a wife and family and he became involved with a young woman. It's been told over and over again for centuries," Lilley said, "Doesn't make it right, but doesn't make it a crime. So he had a sexual affair and there's no contest on that."

Because of a private investigation into an alleged misconduct at the Kennebunk Police Department that Strong was performing, Lilley said that it made Strong a "target of police payback", and that he would pursue the argument. The Department has denied any police payback.

On the other side, York County District Attorney Justina McGettigan said that they jury will learn that Strong played an "active role" into the alleged prostitution business going on at the Zumba dance studio.  That the Kennebunk landlord of the studio started receiving complaints not long after the business was opened three years ago, that the pizza parlor owner across the street saw men going into the dance studio after hours, and that Alexis Wright would give Mark Strong license plate numbers to "run" for identification.

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Evidence will start to be presented today, in the next few weeks or so more than 70 witnesses may be called including some of the men who have pleaded guilty to paying for sex.  Some of the tapes that were recorded showing the men having sex with Alexis Wright will be shown.

We'll have to wait until May for Alexis Wright's trial.  She faces 106 counts including prostitution and invasion of privacy.

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