Sex workers also have argued that the bill would make people working in the industry less safe. A screenshot of Backpage. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed.
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the website must respond to the subpoena within 10 days. The order came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers. The defendants include founders Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68, as well as other shareholders and employees. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Ferrer was arrested on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. Roberts said Backpage does not have to comply with the appeals court order until further action from the Supreme Court. In March, prompted by the Backpage saga, Congress changed Section to allow more state and civil lawsuits against websites related to online sex trafficking, for "knowingly assisting, supporting or facilitating" crimes. Several young women and their families have over the years lost lawsuits against the classifieds website, accusing it of facilitating child sex trafficking. After the bill 's passage, Craigslist shut down its personals section in the U. Sex workers also have argued that the bill would make people working in the industry less safe. The alleged involvement included stripping the ads of code words such as "Lolita" or "new to town," which could indicate an underage girl. The charges against Lacey, Larkin and others were unsealed on Monday. Digital access or digital and print delivery. The charges against Ferrer could bring him nearly 22 years in prison, while Larkin and Lacey face a maximum of six years. Lacey and Larkin are former executives of the New Times Media chain, which they sold off a few years ago. The site operates in hundreds of cities worldwide, authorities said, including more than 30 in California. To see more, visit http: As The Washington Post reports , "Backpage has argued that it assists law enforcement in tracking down victims and perpetrators of crimes, which some police officials have corroborated. California officials said the site collects fees from users who use coded language and nearly nude photos to offer sex for money. The indictment accuses the executives of presenting Backpage as a site to advertise escort services while knowing that "the overwhelming majority of the website's ads involve prostitution. Plus, a major Senate investigation and a cache of discovered documents eventually suggested that Backpage was actively involved in the creating and editing of the sex ads, making the site a publisher that could be liable for its content. The site had argued it simply hosted the ads. Roberts handles emergency requests from the appeals court in Washington, D. He, Lacey and Larkin did appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in , but they declined to answer questions, citing the First and Fifth Amendments. The indictment is the first case of federal criminal charges against the people behind Backpage after years of scrutiny and controversy. Senate investigators have said that Backpage is a market leader in commercial sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, says the documents he is seeking will help lawmakers determine what if any businesses practices and policies the company has to prevent criminal activity.
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