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Trial of Key Defendant in Zumba Prostitution Case to Get Underway Tuesday
01/18/2013   Reported By: Patty B. Wight

Attorney Dan Lilley is headed to court next week to put on a defense in one of the most-watched trials in Maine history. A Superior Court judge denied Lilley's request to withdraw from the case involving one of the key defendants in the Kennebunk prostitution scandal. Lilley says his client, Mark Strong, can no longer afford to pay him. As Patty Wight reports, the trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.

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Trial of Key Defendant in Zumba Prostitution Case
Originally Aired: 1/18/2013 5:30 PM
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 Duration:
2:23

Strong and Lilley

Attorney Dan Lilley (right) and his client Mark Strong leave the Cumberland County Court House today.

Defense attorney Dan Lilley says he reluctantly filed the motion to withdraw from Strong's case.  But he says he had no choice.  He views the trial as a "David and Goliath" situation, in which the state has unlimited resources and has used multiple investigative agencies and experts to aid its case, and he has none.

Standing outside the Cumberland County Court House, Lilley said his client's insurance business has suffered as a result of the charges against him, and he doesn't have the resources to mount an adequate defense.

"Prosecutors - I've said before, and I'm not trying to be facetious - who are on steroids, it appears, because I've never seen a case of this nature with such minor charges have so many taxpayer resources put into it," he says.

Strong is facing 59 misdemeanor charges, including promoting prostitution, violation of privacy, and conspiracy. The trial begins on Tuesday, and is expected to last two to three weeks - the amount of time a murder trial typically takes.

Lilley has asked for a speedy trial for his client since September, but last week he filed a motion to postpone. When a judge rejected that motion, Lilley then asked to withdraw from the case. Justice Nancy Mills did not grant that request either, saying she had already altered court schedules to accommodate Lilley's consistent requests for a speedy trial.

Mills also said Lilley's withdrawal would have an adverse effect on his client. Afterwards, Lilley said the decision was bittersweet. "I'm pleased I'm going to stay on the case in some ways, in other ways, it's difficult to do a trial of this nature for that period of time without having the resources, or anywhere close to the resources, that the state has."

In an impromptu news conference, Lilley was asked why he asked to withdraw so close to the trial date. He said he never expected the case to go to trial in the first place. Lilley has filed multiple motions to dismiss the case, including a motion in December to suppress police evidence.

"Frankly we thought the motion to supress would solve the problem," he says. "We felt the evidence that was seized would be seized illegally, and if that were supressed, that would be the end of the case."

As Lilley answered reporters' questions, Mark Strong stood quietly by his side. When asked how he was coping in light of his apparent financial woes, he said: "Doin' the best I can with what I have to work with."

Prior to the hearing on the motion to withdraw, Lilley and Strong met with state prosecutors to try to reach a settlement. Neither Lilley nor the deputy district attorney would comment on those talks, other than to say that the trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.

Photo by Patty Wight.

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