Potential splitting of charges may mean two trials for Strong
Alfred — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has authorized Justice Nancy Mills to decide whether to split the charges against Mark Strong, 57, of Thomaston as it reviews the state's appeal of Mills' Jan. 25 decision to dismiss 46 privacy-related charges.
According to a Jan. 28 procedural order released by the court, Mills "is authorized to act on the pending motion to bifurcate and proceed on the charges not on appeal, and to take any other action, including proceeding to trial, regarding any charges not on appeal by the state."
If Mills chooses to proceed to trial with the 13 prostitution charges, and the Supreme Court rules that the 46 invasion of privacy charges are valid, the two sets of alleged crimes could mean two trials for Strong.
Strong was initially charged with 45 counts of violation of privacy, one count of conspiracy to commit the crime of violation of privacy, 12 counts of promotion of prostitution, and one count of conspiracy to commit the crime of prostitution.
According to a brief released by Strong's attorneys, Mills decided Jan. 25 that although "johns" patronizing accused co-conspirator Alexis Wright of Wells "'may have had a subjective expectation of privacy...[Mills couldn't] find an objective expectation of privacy that society would be prepared to accept.'"
York Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan, also on Jan. 25, requested an appeal of Mills' decision to dismiss the 46 privacy charges. Lilley's subsequent motion to dismiss McGettigan's appeal was denied by the Supreme Court Jan. 28.
Despite four days of intermittent jury selection, it is unclear whether any jurors have been seated for Strong's trial.
Courier Publications reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.