Commercial Speech

Jurors Will Weigh Whether Backpage Founder Knew the Site Was Running Sex Ads

A screen grab of the home page of the website is pictured after U.S. law enforcement agencies seized the sex marketplace website
An image of the current home page of the website shows logos of U.S. law enforcement agencies after they seized the sex marketplace site April 6, 2018. ( via Reuters)

By The Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Jurors at the criminal trial of a founder of the classified site heard opposite views in closing arguments of whether the founder knew there were ads for prostitution on the site.

Prosecutor Kevin Rapp told jurors on Thursday and Friday that Michael Lacey, who along with four former Backpage employees are accused of taking part in a scheme to knowingly sell sex ads, was aware of the content of ads that had text and images indicative of prostitution. Most of the site’s revenues came from adult ads, Rapp said.

“It’s not coming from (ads for) apartments, automotive or jobs,” Rapp said.