Motion Denied: Bombshell Ruling on Upcoming Backpage Trial Sends Shockwaves

Questions have been pouring into the blog recently about updates to the court case against the owners of Backpage, James Larkin and Michael Lacey, set for next spring. We here do our best to bring you all the late breaking news around the illegal sex trafficking scheme Tony Ortega long shilled for, knowing full well countless children were daily being victimized to advance Backpage’s bottom line.

Recently, those of us eager to see Ortega and his bosses brought to justice received a welcomed bit of good news when the trial judge in the Lacey and Larkin case ruled that the First Amendment does not shield the corrupt newspapermen behind the operation from prosecution for their former ownership of Backpage despite their furtive attempts to muddy the waters by unloading the toxic company as federal authorities began zeroing in their illicit conspiracy.

In a 22-page order filed in federal court in Phoenix, AZ on October 24, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich denied a defense motion to dismiss the 100-count indictment in the Lacey and Larkin case.

In a hopeful turn, the judge found that, given the severity of government’s charges, the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press do not apply to the ex-owners of the Backpage empire.

Filed earlier this year by attorneys for Lacey and Larkin, the motion to dismiss argues that the millions upon millions of adult ads posted on Backpage before it was seized by the FBI in April 2018 were presumptively protected by the First Amendment.

The “hail Mary” motion claimed the government is making what they attempt to portray as “impermissible assumptions of illegality based on vague language in those ads.” Further, the motion attempted to paint prosecutors as pursuing a novel theory of vicarious liability,” in an attempt to hold Lacey and Larkin, and four co-defendants associated with the site, criminally responsible for content posted by third-party users.

We’re delighted to inform our readers that Brnovich rejected motion in toto, siding with the government against the Backpage bosses. We remain committed to bringing you all the latest developments as prosecutors and defense attorneys continue to engage in legal skirmishes leading up to the era-defining trial currently scheduled to begin May 5, 2020.

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