The trial of Mark Strong, a 57-year-old insurance salesman accused of running a prostitution ring with Zumba instructor Alexis Wright, began on Thursday with some very graphic testimony.
Dan Racaniello, the manager of a pizza parlor that is adjacent to Wright’s Zumba studio, told a York County Superior Court judge that Wright once attempted to seduce him when he delivered food to her apartment. According to the Daily News, Racaniello testified that he was delivering an order of spaghetti and meatballs to Wright’s apartment when she answered her door wearing only a towel.
As he waited for her to retrieve money from her purse, Racaniello said Wright dropped her towel, not bothering to retrieve it. He also acknowledged that she “hit on” him during the delivery and that he suspected she “intended to start some kind of relationship” with him.
"She just had a towel on, and I walked in, proceeded to the table and put the food down," Racaniello said in court. "She was getting the money out, and off goes the towel.”
"She was standing there in front of me naked. ... I looked away, and, when I looked back, she was still standing there naked. ... It was awkward,” he added.
However, Racaniello said that the 400 percent tip she gave him (Wright paid $40 for an $8 order and told Racaniello to keep the change) “made my day.”
Wright is the owner of the Pura Vida fitness studio in the upscale seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine, where prosecutors say she engaged in sexual liaisons for money with more than 150 clients. The case rocked the wealthy town and made national headlines in October, when Kennebunk police discovered more than 100 hours of video and nearly 14,000 screenshots of Wright engaging in sex with Johns in her office, according to the Associated Press.
Wright’s landlord, Christopher West, also testified in court on Thursday, alleging that he first became suspicious about Wright after receiving complaints of loud music, groaning and moaning emanating from Wright’s studio from other tenants. He also said that, when he was in the space, he saw used condoms, sex toys and a video camera.
Strong, Wright’s alleged business partner, is charged with 13 counts of helping Wright engage in prostitution. His wife of 30 years and family members appeared in court on Thursday. Defense attorneys for Strong say that police targeted him, because he was investigating complaints about unprofessional conduct of some of its officers.
Jill covers a little bit of everything for IBTimes, from U.S. and World News to Pop Culture. She is a lifelong New Yorker, and holds her bachelors in Media & Culture from...