Skype still images viewed in Strong case

By Jeff Lagasse of Journal Tribune | Feb 28, 2013
Courtesy of: Jeff Lagasse/Journal Tribune

Alfred — Jurors in the Mark Strong trial heard testimony from Detective Frederick Williams of the Saco Police Department’s forensic crime unit at York County Superior Court in Alfred Feb. 27; testimony that prosecutors hope will establish a link between Strong, of Thomaston, and Alexis Wright of Wells, who is alleged to have run a prostitution businesses out of her Kennebunk Zumba fitness studio.

Wright, the owner of Pura Vida Studio, will go to trial in May facing multiple charges of engaging in prostitution and evasion of income tax. Strong faces 13 counts of promotion of prostitution and conspiracy to promote prostitution, Class D and E misdemeanors, respectively.

Williams took the stand for the second straight day, explaining the methods by which he was able to determine that there were calls made by Strong to Wright’s cellphone. The cellphone allegedly belonging to Wright was provided to Williams by Kennebunk police officer Audra Presby, author of an affidavit detailing evidence suggesting the perpetration of crime by both Wright and Strong. Presby is expected to testify later in the trial.

Text messages between Wright and Strong were provided to jurors for their perusal. Copies of the text messages were not provided to the media. A court clerk said that all evidence will remain sealed until the trial’s completion.

Jurors were also shown several still images allegedly captured from Skype video conferences between Wright and Strong. The images depict Wright and her alleged clients engaged in various sexual acts, “which [Strong] captured moment by moment, frame by frame,” said Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan, the state’s prosecuting attorney.

Defense attorney Dan Lilley objected to the prosecution’s proposal that jurors be shown more than 500 images allegedly derived from the video stream. Justice Nancy Mills upheld the objection, directing McGettigan to whittle down the photos to a more manageable “representative sample.”

“As long as they’re sexual acts, and you can determine that, I don’t think we need to go over each act for the state’s purposes,” said Lilley.

Williams testified that, in February 2012, while conducting a forensic investigation of the contents of a laptop computer and external hard drive belonging to Strong, 13,940 images were recovered that were created using the screen capture feature of Skype, an online video chat service.

“They were not deleted, so they were just sitting there in the directory, untouched,” said Williams.

When screen shots are created using Skype, he said, the images are automatically saved to a subfolder on the user’s hard drive, along with the dates and times they were taken. Williams testified that he believed Wright is the woman depicted in both the screen shots and in videos recovered from Strong’s hard drives.

Jurors Wednesday were originally slated to watch an almost hour-long video allegedly depicting Wright engaged in sexual acts with clients, but the viewing was postponed to Thursday due to inclement weather. That video is expected to be presented at trial today, and Williams will continue his testimony.

Journal Tribune Staff Writer Jeff Lagasse can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 319 or jlagasse@journaltribune.com.

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