The Art of Looking Bad in a Lawsuit

This week’s case involving Backpage boss, Michael Lacey, and his prima donna request to have his ankle monitor removed in advance of his latest Hawaiian vacation highlights and underlines both the narcissism and lack of remorse the accused in this case have displayed at every turn.

While it is always distressing to see the moral depravity of Tony Ortega’s former colleagues, such examples of conduct can serve to remind us of the mentality behind the schemer’s Tony Ortega himself once praised as the guys ‘smart enough to create Backpage’.

Were it not for Lacey’s recent self-indulgent holiday demand to the court federal prosecutors would have missed out on the chance to once again remind the American people that previous sanctions by the courts have been imposed on Backpage for repeatedly fraudulent statements. In other words: the Backpage defendants can’t seem to keep themselves from lying any time they open their mouths.

Perhaps it was with this in mind that federal prosecutors in Phoenix, in their motion against Lacey’s latest entitled demand, signaled they intend to use Backpage’s own plea deal as evidence against Lacey.

Backpage’s guilty plea was agreed to by the website’s chief executive officer, Carl Ferrer, as part of his individual plea deal.

Also pleading guilty to charges in the case was Dan Hyer, who was the sales and marketing director of Backpage.

The government’s filing says that “Lacey certainly cannot claim he was unaware of Backpage’s facilitation of prostitution, especially in light of Ferrer’s, Hyer’s and Backpage’s recent guilty pleas.”

Indeed, Ferrer in his guilty plea said that he knew the “great majority” of escort ads on Backpage were ads for prostitution. He also said escort ads provided most of Backpage’s revenue.

For his part, Hyer, in his own plea deal, said he knew ads on the website were offering “illegal prostitution services.” Hyer, continued on in his plea to explain that Backpage edited the ads to make them less overt, but those changes “did nothing to change the services being offered.”

Hyer also admitted he and another executive at the website used the term “models” in emails to refer to girls who appeared under 18. The reason, he said, was to avoid “looking bad in a lawsuit.”

Maybe this “looking bad” concept is one Tony Ortega’s pal Lacey should consider the next time he tries to waste the court’s time by putting his self-serving greed above everyone else.

But then it was precisely this self-serving greed that built Backpage in the first place — and that’s one inconvenient fact that certainly won’t be ‘looking good in a lawsuit’

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