On Friday, April 6th 2018, Government agencies seized and shut down backpage.com, . Even though the ninety-three indictment count does not include sex trafficking, Jim and Michael have long battled accusations of unlawful internet practices.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Federal bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division, US Postal Inspection Service, and US Attorney’s Offices From the districts California, Arizona and Texas.
Cindy McCain who is part of the Arizona Governor’s Human Trafficking Council and the wife current senator John McCain, has for years been voicing against Backpage.com for what she claims is a website that provides consensual adult prostitution and sex trafficking. Mrs. McCain has testified for Congress before on similar issues and has been a voice for (SESTA) Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act. Learn more about James Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/press/ and http://james-larkin.com/
Paul Cambria, Lacey’s Criminal defense attorney and former lawyer for the famous Larry Flint, has stated his client will plead “Not Guilty”. Cambria decried that the actions taken against his client were a violation of his first amendment rights. Cambria told the press the following: “We don’t believe our client has done anything wrong to merit this type of police behavior”.
Any time legal authorities impede by discontinuing a major form of speech, it has a huge effect on freedom rights across this country. We don’t believe that the actions taken against our client are constitutional, and we intend to use the law to uphold the freedoms provided by the constitution”
It is worth mentioning that during the years Lacey and Larkin operated the Phoenix New Times, the paper exposed McClain’s viewpoints on a number of issues. Read more: Jim Larkin | Facebook and Village Voice Media | Wikepedia
Not all groups were against the shutdown of Backpage.com. The group for Woman’s March showed support for Lacey and Larkin by stating the following on their Twitter page “the shutting down # Backpage has ramifying effects for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with business partners. This is a clear violation of sex workers rights or women’s rights.”
Former Judge Richard Posner, In statement that could apply to the closing of Backpage, said “anyone who tries to impede expression of ideas and opinions through ‘actions or threats of government authority’ is violating the law of the constitution.
This is not Lacey and Larkin first encounter with authorities regarding the freedom of speech. In 2016 senator Kamala Harris pressed charges against the men. After being arrested and held without bond for days on pimping charges, they fought their case, winning this dismissal by the Supreme Court from California on multiple occasions.
Most recently they were arrested in 2007 by the authorities of Maricopa County on charges of being a whistleblower of grand jury information.
In time, the case was dropped and they ultimately won nearly a $4 million settlement, and used a portion of that to set up the Frontera Fund, a non-profit that donates money to Latin American organizations throughout the State of Arizona