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Judge declares mistrial at trial of Backpage.com founders

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Posted at 10:14 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 18:34:58-04

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has declared a mistrial at the trial of the founders of the lucrative classified site Backpage.com on charges of facilitating prostitution and laundering money.

U.S. District Judge Susan Brnovich said Tuesday prosecutors had too many references to child sex trafficking in a case where no one faced such a charge.

Michael Lacey and James Larkin were accused of taking part in a scheme to knowingly sell ads for sex on the site.

Lacey and Larkin said the site never allowed ads for sex and used people and automated tools to try to delete such ads.

The judge has scheduled an Oct. 5 status hearing.
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