Privacy Law

Do privacy rights end at the brothel door? Judge dismisses taping charges in Zumba case

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A Maine judge has dismissed 46 of 59 counts against a defendant accused of taping sexual encounters at a Zumba studio after his lawyer argued that privacy rights don’t apply in a brothel.

Judge Nancy Mills dismissed the taping-related charges against Mark Strong Sr. on Friday, the Portland Press Herald reports. Prosecutors filed an immediate appeal with the state’s highest court.

Lawyer Daniel Lilley had sought dismissal of the 46 counts that are based on a Maine law intended to protect the privacy of people in restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms, the Portland Press Herald and the Associated Press reported last week.

The privacy law “does not apply to bordellos, whorehouses and the like,” Lilley argued on Thursday. “Those places are to commit crime. There is no expectation to privacy. If there is, it’s illusory.”

Mills accepted that argument. “These patrons may have had a subjective expectation of privacy, but I can’t find an objective expectation of privacy that society would be willing to accept,” she said in her ruling.

Strong is accused of videotaping people who paid to have sex with dance instructor Alexis Wright, who his was his business partner in the Kennebunk fitness studio. Strong remains charged with 13 other counts, including promotion of prostitution and conspiracy to commit promotion of prostitution.

The appeal is the second to Maine’s Maine Supreme Judicial Court during the trial. Jury selection was opened to public because of a ruling Thursday by the state supreme court.

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