Backpage.com Loses Bid To Recuse Arizona Judge In Sex Trafficking Case

Apr 7, 2021

An appeals court rejected a bid by the former operators of Backpage.com to recuse an Arizona judge from presiding over their August 23rd trial on prostitution facilitation charges.

File image
Credit AP

The former site operators argued Judge Susan Brnovich should be recused because of statements made by her husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, about the now-shuttered classified ad site. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Judge Brnovich made no clear error in rejecting the recusal request made by Backpage founders Michael Lacey, James Larkin and other former site managers. They argued letting Judge Brnovich remain on the case could lead people to question the court’s impartiality. Backpage was founded in 2004 and seized by federal law enforcement agencies in 2018. By that time, it had become the largest marketplace in the world for buying and selling sex.