Lawyers for site dubbed 'online brothel' want charges tossed

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The operators of want new pimping charges tossed out, two weeks after the website that prosecutors dubbed an online brothel stopped advertising adult services amid a congressional investigation.

The California attorney general's office charged Backpage executives Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey and James Larkin last month with conspiracy to commit pimping and 26 counts of money laundering. Ferrer also is charged with 12 counts of pimping, seven involving children.

The trio didn't enter pleas Tuesday during their first court appearance on the charges.

They were filed two weeks after a judge dismissed an earlier case, ruling that the website's ads were free speech. Defense attorneys say the state is trying an end-run around that ruling.

A Senate subcommittee is looking into whether the site is a front for prostitution.

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