ALFRED, Maine (AP) — Attorneys for an insurance agent accused of helping a Zumba instructor engage in prostitution attacked police motives and the lead investigator's inexperience Monday in a huge case that drew international attention to the town of Kennebunk.
Police Chief Robert F. MacKenzie testified that he passed over the department's only detective, two lieutenants and four patrol sergeants in favor of having a patrol officer lead the investigation because he felt that she had the most time to devote to the case.
"This appeared to be a complex case and that it was going to take the full attention of an investigator. I did not want to tie up our detective," he said, explaining why he chose the patrol officer.
The defense called its first witnesses in the trial of Mark Strong Sr. on Monday after the prosecution rested its case. The government didn't call any johns to the stand after attorneys stipulated that video recordings showed paid-sex acts took place on two-dozen dates.
Strong's attorneys also asked the judge to dismiss 12 of 13 remaining counts that relate to the promotion of prostitution.
The judge didn't immediately rule.
Strong, 57, of Thomaston, is accused of helping Alexis Wright use her Kennebunk fitness studio as a front for prostitution.
The married businessman has acknowledged having an affair with Wright and helping her open a dance studio but he contends he didn't profit from any of her activities. She'll be tried later.
Videos played for jurors last week indicated Strong discussed operational details with Wright and watched her have sex with men for money from his computer 100 miles away in Thomaston.
The final witness for the state was the chief investigator, police officer Audra Presby. She testified that Wright, in addition to recording sex acts, had a video camera rolling while police executed a search warrant on Feb. 14, 2012. She said Skype video snapshots recovered from Strong's computer in Thomaston indicate he watched the search unfold live on his computer.
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