But he gave both sides more time to submit briefs before issuing a final ruling next month.
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.
The section of the Communications Decency Act that applies to the case protects websites from content posted by third parties, said David Greene, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It immunizes sites such as Yelp.
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. Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, said he was confused when the charges were filed because Harris was one of 47 state attorneys general who asked Congress in to help change a provision of the Communications Decency Act that they acknowledged protected Back from prosecution.
Goldman said he wondered how Harris, who has a reputation for being overly cautious, had brought a case her office knew was pre-empted by the law. Back lawyer Liz McDougall said she and her clients were optimistic before the hearing, but 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. Tribune Publishing staff and wire reports curated by Chicago Tribune editors and producers.
COVID vaccines more protective than past infection, study shows. All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing.
Business Visionaries. Hot Property.
Times Events. Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options.
By Tribune news services. Tribune news services.
Follow Us twitter facebook. More From the Los Angeles Times.