A federal court judge Tuesday declared a mistrial in the case of James Larkin, Michael Lacey and four other Backpage.com executives, ruling that government prosecutors improperly presented testimony against the defendants.

Judge Susan Brnovich said prosecution witnesses improperly talked about child sex trafficking and murders linked to Backpage.

“Although I don’t see it as intentional misconduct,” Brnovich ruled, “the cumulative effect of all that is something that I can’t overlook and won’t overlook.”

Brnovich said she would schedule a meeting with attorneys for both sides to discuss proceeding to a new trial. The trial started last week at the federal courthouse in Phoenix.

(There’s solid coverage of the case at AZCentral.com, the website of the Arizona Republic newspaper.)


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