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Maine Zumba instructor pleads guilty in prostitution case

The Zumba instructor who was accused of running a prostitution ring from her dance studio in the seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine, pleaded guilty to 20 counts on Friday.

The felony charges against Alexis Wright were reduced to misdemeanors, defense attorney Sarah Churchill confirmed to NBC News.

The case against Wright, 30, gained national attention as allegations emerged of an extensive, detailed client list and videotaped sexual encounters. Prosecutors said that Wright had maintained records showing she netted $150,000 over 18 months through prostitution.

A subdued Wright answered "guilty" as the judge read the 20 counts Friday, The Associated Press reported.

She is due to be sentenced May 31. Prosecutors are set to ask for a sentence of 10 months.

Wright had previously pleaded not guilty to 106 counts, including engaging in prostitution, and had been expected to stand trial some time later this year.

Mark Strong, a 57-year-old insurance agent, was convicted of 12 counts of promotion to commit prostitution and one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution on March 6. Prosecutors said Strong helped Wright run a prostitution ring from her Zumba studio in Kennebunk.

Strong was sentenced to 20 days in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine on March 21.

Lawyers argued over the admissibility of 577 red-hot Skype shots in Strong’s trial, with Strong’s attorneys saying that there was no way that jurors would be able to decide fairly after seeing the “extremely sexual” material.

“I think some of this stuff is going to horrify some of these people to the point where he won’t possibly get a fair trial,” defense attorney Daniel Lilley argued five days into Strong’s trial.

Strong struck an apologetic note during his sentencing.

“Mostly, I’d like to apologize to my wife and my sons and my entire family for causing so much harm,” Strong said at his sentencing, according to local paper the Portland Press Herald.

The guilty plea Wright entered Friday will allow her to avoid the embarrassing courtroom revelations Strong endured.

The case rattled the quiet town of Kennebunk, where Wright operated her Pura Vida studio. Kennebunk Police Chief Bob MacKenzie said Friday that he was “content” with Wright’s plea.

“This will put it to rest,” MacKenzie told the Bangor Daily News. “We’ll finally be able to move beyond this.”