Friday, August 2, 2019

Ninth Circuit Grants Partial Win to Ex-Backpage Owners Over First Amendment

Ninth Circuit Grants Partial Win to Ex-Backpage Owners
First Amendment stalwarts, Michael Lacey (left) and Jim Larkin, with another win, albeit a partial one, from the Ninth Circuit. 

Three weeks after oral arguments were held in Pasadena, California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed a partial win to veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin in their fight to recover millions of dollars in assets seized unlawfully by the U.S. government.

Prosecutors had blocked the ex-Backpage owners from raising First Amendment issues in the case before a lower court judge. But the appellate court lifted a stay on proceedings, sending the case back to the lower court without restrictions on the arguments to be raised, constitutional or otherwise.

Read: Ninth Circuit Hands Lacey and Larkin a Partial Win in Latest Battle over Seized Assets

Lacey's defense attorney, Paul Cambria, signaled that the fight was on to recover these assets, which are desperately needed to prepare an adequate defense to the outrageous charges against the two men.

“[This decision] means that all issues we raised are now before the court — the complete question of the illegality of the government’s seizures of the clients’ assets to prevent them from funding their defense,” Cambria explained.

Prosecutors want to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for adult ads posted by third parties to the now-defunct listings giant,, which the men sold in 2015. Both men face the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in prison on bogus allegations of facilitating prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy.

Find out more about this ongoing First Amendment donnybrook, at