Backpage Trial Update: “Dirty Tricksters”

In the world of ligation there are no shortage of dirty tricks for those unscrupulous enough to employ them. This seems to be the case especially when those charged with a crime understand how weak their legal defense is and, more importantly, just how guilty they are of the charges before them. This certainly seems to be the case in the upcoming Backpage trial, about which we have discussed much over the past few months. 

Regular readers of this blog will remember two of Tony Ortega’s Backpage bosses, James Larkin and Michael Lacey, currently stand accused of a slew of federal charges, including that of using the online site to facilitate illegal sex trafficking. Faced with what appears to be a mountain of incriminating evidence and damning witness testimony, Lacey and Larkin are making a desperate attempt to convince the court they simply can’t get a fair trial. 

How, you may ask?

Well, by attempting one of the oldest dirty tricks in the legal game of course — asserting that the presiding judge, Susan Brnovich, must recuse herself because of opinions expressed by her husband, Mark Brnovich, the Arizona attorney general, who had publicly stated that sex trafficking is “more than just a crime, it is a profound tragedy for all of those who fall victim.”

Imagine that! The attorney general for the state of Arizona publicly coming out against the federal crime of human sex trafficking Why, it’s almost as if the law of the land matters to him!

 The motion made by counsel for Lacey and Larkin reads in part:

“Recusal is not warranted simply because the Court’s spouse is the Attorney General, or even because the Court’s spouse has made statements about the misuse of the internet, but because he has inserted himself into the mix in this case.”

It should come as no surprise that the glorified pimps who ran Backpage would attack someone who called the selling of vulnerable women and young children for sex ‘a profound tragedy’. 

Nor should it come as a surprise that anyone voicing an opinion critical of their sex-for-cash business model would instantly be accused of ‘inserting themselves into the mix’.

These are, after all, the same men who hired Tony Ortega to do exactly the same thing in the editorial pages of the Village Voice.

Although Mark Brnovich has been an outspoken advocate against sex trafficking since January 2015, the month he took office, the motion said a member of Larkin’s defense team only discovered his strong anti-sex trafficking stance this month. 

A spokesperson for Attorney General Brnovich said he would not be issuing a statement. But as with all things pertaining to this increasingly unpredictable trial, we will be here when a decision is made.  And no dirty tricks performed by Backpage, or even Tony Ortega himself, will change that on bit.

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