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Zumba prostitution case stalls in second week

The all-buzz, no-bang trial of Zumba prostitution defendant Mark Strong eased to a slow grind Tuesday as Judge Nancy Mills decided to halt the trial pending an appeal of her decision to dismiss 46 counts against him.

Mills decided not to proceed with the remaining 13 charges against Strong, 57, after a morning hearing, York County Superior Court director of court information Mary Ann Lynch told NBC News in an email.

All of the 46 misdemeanor counts dropped by Mills last week were invasion of privacy charges related to allegations that Zumba instructor Alexis Wright videotaped herself having sex with clients.

Oral arguments in the appeal will be held Feb. 13, according to a scheduling order filed Tuesday.

The 13 remaining counts include promotion of prostitution and conspiracy to promote prostitution. Strong has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

Strong has been accused of helping Wright, 30, run a prostitution ring out of the dance and exercise studio she operated in the town of Kennebunk, Maine. Wright has been charged with 106 counts including charges of engaging in prostitution. Wright has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is expected to go on trial later this year.

Accused Zumba pimp trial begins in disorder

The judge also decided to stay jury selection on Tuesday, a process that has taken far longer than was expected.

“This jury panel is here through the end of February,” Mills told attorneys on Tuesday, according to the Portland Press Herald. “Obviously they have not been dismissed or discharged, and depending on how the time frames of this case works, they may serve.”

Jury selection became complicated last week, with zero jurors out of the original pool of 140 seated after four days. The proceedings were conducted behind closed doors until Thursday, when the Maine Supreme Judicial court ruled on an appeal filed by Maine Today Media, and said that the process had to be opened to the public.

Only 39 potential jurors remain from the starting pool as of Tuesday, according to Lynch.