At a hearing later Wednesday, the judge declined to make his ruling final, instead giving both parties more time to argue their positions. Bowman said he would issue a ruling by Dec. The judge, however, said Harris lacked authority to bring the charges because the federal Communications Decency Act, as a way of promoting free speech, grants immunity to website operators for content posted by users.
Ferrer, 55, was charged with pimping a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. Lacey, 68, and Larkin, 67, both from Arizona, were charged with conspiracy to commit pimping.
Ferrer was arrested Oct. Harris, a Democrat who was elected to the U. Senate last week, alleged that more than 90 percent of Back revenue -- millions of dollars each month -- comes from adult escort that use coded language and nearly nude photos to offer sex for money. Back lawyer Liz McDougall said she and her clients were optimistic and declined further comment until after the hearing.
She did not immediately respond to a telephone message after the hearing.
The company and its operators have ly prevailed in four other legal actions, defense attorneys said ly. Bowman cited several of those cases in his ruling, including a decision by a federal judge to reject a lawsuit by women who said they were trafficked through on Back.
The Washington state Supreme Court last year allowed a civil lawsuit by three minors to proceed. Their attorneys said they were in the seventh and ninth grades when professional sex traffickers used Back to sell them as prostitutes. In September, the U. Supreme Court refused to block a subpoena from a U. Senate committee seeking information on how Back screens the for possible sex trafficking.
The U. Senate voted in March to hold the website in contempt for failing to provide the information. Chrome Safari Continue.
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