Defendant in Maine Zumba Prostitution Case to Face Trial

(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - The first trial in the high profile zumba prostitution case in Maine is set to begin on Tuesday.

Mark Strong is facing 59 counts, including promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy. Prosecutors say he helped Alexis Wright run a prostitution ring out of a zumba studio in Kennebunk.

On Friday, Strong had two court hearings. The first was a settlement conference held behind closed doors. No plea deal was reached.

The second, a motion from Strong's lawyer Dan Lilley to withdraw from the case. Lilley argued Strong has no money to pay him or for the experts required to try the case properly.

"We find ourselves in a david and goliath situation where the state has unlimited resources," Lilley told the judge.

Earlier this week, the defense sought to change the venue of the trial and delay the start. The judge denied those motions saying Strong has consistently asked for a speedy trial. She also denied the motion for Strong's attorney to withdraw, saying it would have an adverse effect on the defendant.

The prosecutions witness list includes nearly 60 people, including 18 so-called "johns" who have already plead guilty in the case.

Jury selection is set to get underway Tuesday in York County. Alexis Wright is scheduled to go on trial in May.

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