PHOENIX (AP) — Prosecutors say the founders and managers of the lucrative classified site Backpage.com knew that the overwhelming majority of their revenue came from prostitution ads but tried to conceal it.
Opening arguments began Friday in Phoenix in the case charging six former Backpage owners and executives with facilitating prostitution.
Four of the six also face money laundering charges, including the former owners of a chain of alternative weekly newspapers.
Defense attorneys did not make their opening statement Friday and asked the judge to declare a mistrial. Backpage founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin have maintained that the site never allowed ads for sex and used people and automated tools to weed out such ads.
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