Zumba Madam, alleged business partner ask to try cases separately
The Zumba instructor accused of running a prostitution service out of her studio, and her alleged business partner, filed paperwork Friday asking that their cases be tried separately.
Attorneys for both sides said they were responding to an October 9 notice filed by York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan asserting the state’s intent to try the defendants together.
Alexis Wright, 29, of Wells has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts including prostitution, tax evasion and invasion of privacy for allegedly engaging in sexual acts for money and secretly videotaping her encounters. Mark Strong, 57, an insurance agent from Thomaston, has pleaded not guilty to 59 charges including promotion of prostitution and invasion of privacy.
In their separate motions Daniel Lilley, attorney for Strong, and Sarah Churchill, attorney for Wright, discussed the potentially antagonistic relationship between the two defendants.
Lilley wrote that Strong’s case should be divided because he is only charged with misdemeanors and has requested a speedy trial, while the felony charges against Wright are more serious, and her anticipated discovery hurdles will likely lead to a protracted delay in her case. Lilley further stated that both Wright and Strong would likely build a defense that requires them to “point the finger at the other” and included as evidence a “proffer” made by Wright on Aug 20., 2012, to police officers that may have implicated Strong.
Churchill also noted the “proffer” made by her client Wright and said that although those statements won’t be used against Wright, they may be used by the state against Strong. She also wrote that her client would be disadvantaged by her association with Strong since the state indicated in October, during their arraignment, that markers for child pornography were found on Strong’s computer.
“This information, not substantiated in discovery thus far, has been let loose upon the potential jury pool and as such has tainted Defendant Wright’s ability to gain a fair trial if sitting in a courtroom with Defendant Strong,” Churchill wrote.
A hearing will likely be scheduled to determine whether to sever the two cases.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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