California judge allows bail for operators

FeaturesAssociated Press

The operators of an international website advertising escort services will be allowed to post bail while they await trial on charges of pimping by trafficking prostitutes.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman ruled Thursday that the operators have enough assets that are not tied to the website. California authorities allege those are ill-gotten gains.

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The California attorney general's office charges that the website brought in millions of dollars each month through thinly disguised online advertisements for commercial sex, some involving minors.

Backpage attorney Liz McDougall says the site's CEO, 55-year-old Carl Ferrer, will post $500,000 bail Thursday. The firm's controlling shareholders, 68-year-old Michael Lacey and 67-year-old James Larkin, will post $250,000 each.

Bowman closed the courtroom to the public under a California law designed to protect private financial affairs.