January 2020 trial set for Backpage.com founders

PHOENIX (AP) - A trial date has been set for two founders and five employees of Backpage.com in case in which the classified advertising site is accused of knowingly running ads for sexual services.

Michael Lacey, James Larkin and five employees of the site who are charged in the case are scheduled for trial on Jan. 15, 2020.

All seven have pleaded not guilty.

An indictment accuses the site of ignoring warnings to stop running advertisements promoting prostitution, sometimes involving children, because the lucrative enterprise brought in half a billion dollars.

In related cases, Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge in Arizona and money laundering charges in California.

The company has pleaded guilty to human trafficking in Texas and money laundering conspiracy in Arizona.