Zumba Prostitution Scandal: Invasion of privacy concerns to be addressed before Maine court

Mark Strong Sr., right, sits with his attorney Dan Lilley, left, during his arraignment, Oct. 9, 2012, in Portland, Maine, on 59 charges, including promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy in connection with a Kennebunk Zumba dance studio. Strong Jr. entered a plea of not guilty.
AP Photo/Joel Page
Mark Strong Sr. (right) sits with his attorney during his arraignment on Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Maine
AP Photo/Joel Page

(CBS/AP) PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's highest court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether alleged johns who were unknowingly recorded having paid sex with a Zumba fitness instructor have a right to privacy.

PICTURES: Zumba instructor ran sex club, cops say

A trial judge dismissed 46 invasion of privacy counts against Mark Strong Sr., the alleged business partner in the Zumba prostitution scandal who is accused of viewing the sex videos. The judge ruled that someone engaging in criminal conduct does not have the same right to privacy as someone changing in a dressing room or locker room.

Prosecutors are seeking to reinstate the charges, having said that the judge shouldn't have dismissed the privacy counts because the defense was late in raising the matter, the privacy issues are encompassed by state law, and the matter should be decided by a jury, not a judge.

Defense lawyer Dan Lilley countered that it makes no sense to grant privacy for criminal conduct. "The state's position on this appeal is contrary to reason, common sense and the interest of society," he wrote.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court was scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday afternoon.

Strong faces 13 other counts that deal with promotion of prostitution. Jury selection in his trial was delayed twice by appeals to the state supreme court. The first dealt with First Amendment issues raised about the closed-door jury selection process. The second is dealing with the dismissal of the invasion of privacy charges.

Both Strong and fitness instructor Alexis Wright, who ran a Zumba studio in Kennebunk, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Jury selection in Strong's trial could resume if the supreme court rules quickly. Wright will be tried at a later date.

Complete coverage of the Zumba Prostitution Scandal on Crimesider