Zumba Sex Scandal: Judge Will Not Block Release of Client List

PHOTO: Alexis Wright, 29, left, sits during her arraignment on 109 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her Kennebunk fitness studio and office, Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Main
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A state judge in Kennebunk, Maine, decided today not to block the release of over 100 alleged clients of Alexis Wright, the 29-year-old Zumba instructor who is accused of running a prostitution ring out of her dance studio.

Police were prepared to reveal the first batch of identities of Wright's alleged clients, which would be normally made public in police activity reports released every other week. But on Thursday, defense attorneys representing some of the alleged clients asked a judge to block their release.

District Judge Andre Janelle quickly rejected their motion for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction, which he filed early Friday.

Stephen Schwartz, an attorney for the alleged clients, filed an appeal on Judge Janelle's decision, and that will be sent to the state Supreme Court.

There is speculation that the list contains the names of well-known locals, including prominent politicians, lawyers, and law enforcement officers who allegedly frequented the brothel investigators say was run out of Wright's Pura Vida Studio. Wright allegedly had a video camera set up in the room to film the acts as well.

Based on information found during a search of the studio, police began issuing summonses to the alleged johns on misdemeanor charges of engaging a prostitute. As many as 45 men on the list have already been summoned.

Stephen Schwartz, an attorney for the alleged clients, said Thursday that releasing their names would harm the character of a number of the accused, which reportedly might include prominent politicians, attorneys and others.

"Releasing the list has the power to really destroy reputations," Schwartz said.

Wright, 29, refused to answer questions outside of court Tuesday after pleading not guilty to 106 counts including prostitution and invasion of privacy.

Police say that Mark Strong, 57, was in charge of booking Wright's alleged clients. Strong has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

Strong's lawyer, Daniel Lilley, admits that there is a list, but says his client had nothing to do with it.

"I'm told that there are police officers and firemen and accountants and TV personalities and lawyers," Lilley said. "It runs the gamut of Americana, I guess."

Bee Nguyen, the landlord for Wright's studio, called police after hearing unusual sounds coming from her office and seeing strange men come and go, according to court documents.

"I thought she was a little, not risqué, but a little flirtatious at times with a couple of the male participants in the class," Kennebunk resident Allison Ackley said.

Some men allegedly paid large sums of money for Wright's services.

"There's a separate list with names and certain codes that would seem to reflect sexual acts and amounts, attorney Lilly said."One case, I think the amount was $1,500."

Prosecutors say Wright recorded some of her encounters with the men, and say they have 100 hours of video evidence.

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