During jury deliberations here at the York County courthouse, I’ve had an opportunity to go through the several notebooks I’ve written through during the trial of Mark Strong Sr. — which, in case you haven’t been following, is a Thomaston insurance agent accused of helping a Kennebunk fitness instructor run a prostitution business out of her Zumba studio.
One thing that came up during the last few days of the trial, but that never made it into any of my stories, was police testimony that they were first exposed to Alexis Wright — the accused prostitute — in late spring or early summer of 2011.
Wright, who has been featured in much of the evidence presented in the Strong case, isn’t actually scheduled to go on trial herself until May.
Kennebunk Police Chief Robert MacKenzie and Lt. Daniel Jones both testified in the last days of the Strong trial (Monday and Tuesday of this week, respectively) that they became aware of a sexually explicit video posted online in which Wright appeared — along with one of their police cruisers — several months before they officially began looking into tips alleging she was running a prostitution ring in town.
MacKenzie told defense attorney Daniel Lilley on Monday that in May or June of 2011, he was told the video, which he said depicted “Wright in a public location masturbating, with a Kennebunk Police Department cruiser passing by in plain view.”
MacKenzie said he sent an officer to ask Wright to take the video down off the Internet.
Jones, during follow-up testimony Tuesday, told Lilley Wright was sitting in a car in the video, naked from the waist up. Jones said Wright appeared to be stimulating herself, but that the camera did not show her below the waist. When a police car passed nearby, the lieutenant said, Wright noticed the police presence, told the camera abruptly she had to go and turned the video off.
MacKenzie said he explored whether Wright had done anything illegal in shooting the video, but determined she could not be charged with any crimes. As a result, his only recourse was to ask for the video to be taken down from the Internet.
In the overall timeline, if you’re following along, Kennebunk police Patrol Officer Audra Presby said she was first sent to check out the Zumba studio — after the department received tips that illegal activity was going on there — on or about October of 2011.
Wright’s properties weren’t searched until Feb. 14, 2012. Strong was the first individual charged in the investigation, arrested on one count of promotion of prostitution the same day his Thomaston properties were searched on July 10, 2012. Indictments for both Strong and Wright were handed down by the grand jury in October — 59 total counts for Strong, at that point, and 106 total counts for Wright.
Alleged johns in the case were first issued summonses later in October.