CRIME
01/19/2013 11:45 am ET Updated Jan 20, 2013

Mark Strong Sr. Had Relationship With Alexis Wright, Business Partner In Zumba Prostitution Case

Steamy details emerged about the physical relationship between a middle-aged businessman and a zumba instructor accused of running a brothel in Maine.

Mark Strong Sr., a married 57-year-old, told Nightline that he had casual encounters with Alexis Wright, 30, after he invested in her dance studio. But he denied knowing that she allegedly used it for prostitution in the coastal town of Kennebunk.

"We did have intimate moments but it's not what I would consider romantic," he said in the interview that aired Friday. "It was just physical."

Strong's remarks were broadcast the same day closed-door negotiations between his lawyers and prosecutors broke down without reaching a plea deal for him, NBC News said.

The scandal has stunned the small town, not far from upscale Kennebunkport. well-known for the Bush family's seaside compound. Wright's alleged client list included around 150 names. Many of the supposed johns have been publicly identified and charged with paying for sex.

Strong is set to go on trial Tuesday on 59 misdemeanor counts of working with Wright to promote a sex ring, the Associated Press said.

The Superior Court judge in York County rejected a request by Strong's lawyer Daniel Lilley to withdraw from the case. Lilley said Strong couldn't afford his services, which included paying expert witnesses to testify.

Wright has a 106-count indictment that also includes tax charges, in addition to prostitution. Her trial will move ahead in May, the Bangor Daily News said.

She allegedly used laptops and cameras to secretly record the sexual encounters with the clients, prosecutors said.

Subscribe to Breaking Alerts.
Don’t miss out — be the first to know all the latest news.

CONVERSATIONS