ALFRED, Maine (AP) — The jury in the trial of an insurance agent charged with promoting prostitution watched a video Thursday showing a sexual encounter between a Zumba fitness instructor and a man that ended with him leaving cash on her massage table.
Prosecutors showed the video to try to bolster their case against Mark Strong Sr. They say the fitness instructor was getting paid to have sex and that Strong was watching the encounters live from his office 100 miles away via video chat.
On the video, recorded via Skype, Alexis Wright makes chitchat with an older man as he undresses before they engage in sex acts. Afterward, she uses wipes from a plastic container to clean up, shows the man to the door and then talks to another man, presumably Strong, at the other end of the Skype chat.
Prosecutors say the video was taken without the prostitution client's knowledge.
Computer expert Frederick Williams of the Saco Police Department told jurors the video was recovered from a device belonging to Wright and that Strong's computer in Thomaston had 45 snapshots made from the same video.
He also described recovering a ledger from Wright's computer with entries from Oct. 5, 2010, through Feb. 13, 2012, the day before police raided her home, office and Kennebunk studio. He also found a key that described various sexual acts, and those matched with the sex acts — and a $250 payment — with the client on the video.
Strong faces 13 counts that relate to promoting prostitution. A judge previously dismissed 46 counts of invasion of privacy over prostitution clients who were said to have been videotaped without their knowledge.
He and Wright have pleaded not guilty. She'll be tried at a later date.
Strong, 57, of Thomaston, contends he had an affair with 30-year-old Wright and helped her launch her Pura Vida dance studio in Kennebunk but that he was unaware of any paid sex.
Jurors showed little reaction as they watched the 45-minute video on a large screen in the courtroom. One looked away for parts of the display, one fiddled with an eyeglass case, another twiddled his thumbs and several stole glances at a clock.
On the video, Wright talks to the man about his business and her college classes. She politely rebuffs him when he said he'd like to spend more time with her.
"I have new classes starting today and I have to run errands. Next time you'll have to not wait until the last minute to call me," she said.
After the man dresses, he asks, "How much is the rate now?"
She responds that it's $250 for 45 minutes. After the man dresses and leaves, the video showed Wright picking up the money.
The prostitution scandal attracted international attention last fall after it was reported that Wright had ledgers indicating she made $150,000 over 18 months and had more than 150 clients, some of them prominent.
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