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Officer: Zumba teacher had badge in her SUV

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 12:30 p.m. CST

ALFRED, Maine (AP) — A Zumba instructor accused of prostitution had $1,000 cash, a badge and state identification as an assistant investigator in her sport utility vehicle, according to testimony Friday by a police officer testifying in the trial of an insurance agent connected to the case.

Lawyers for Mark Strong say instructor Alexis Wright studied under Strong to become a private investigator. But a state police spokesman said Friday that licensed private investigators aren't allowed to carry badges.

There were no details on the badge. Other items seized from Wright's office, studio and home included computers, hard drives, condoms, baby oil and personal lubricants, said Audra Presby, the lead investigator.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, is on trial on 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution. Wright will be tried later.

Videos showed for jurors Thursday indicated Strong watched live video feeds from his Thomaston insurance office as Wright engaged in sexual encounters in which money changed hands 100 miles away in Kennebunk.

The defense contends Strong was unfairly targeted because he was investigating alleged unprofessional conduct by Presby, who was reprimanded for having an affair with her boss, and other officers in the Kennebunk Police Department.

The defense contends Presby took a hard drive that allegedly contained Strong's findings to the Kennebunk Police Department, despite an understanding that computer devices seized from his home and business would be under control of state police.

The defense cross examination of Presby was expected to last throughout the afternoon on Friday.

The prostitution scandal in the seaside community of Kennebunk attracted attention last fall after it was reported that Wright's ledgers indicated she made $150,000 over 18 months.

Strong's attorneys contend he had an affair with 30-year-old Wright and helped finance her Pura Vida dance studio but that no crime was committed because he didn't recruit clients and didn't profit from the operation.

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Follow David Sharp at http://twitter.com/David_Sharp_AP

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