Judge in Backpage case refuses to disqualify herself over marriage to Arizona attorney general

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By ggrado | Arizona Capitol Times

Susan Brnovich/Arizona Capitol Times

The federal judge hearing criminal charges against former executives of Backpage.com is refusing to step aside from the case, saying her marriage to state Attorney General Mark Brnovich is irrelevant to the matter.

In a 14-page ruling late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich did not dispute that her husband’s office had published a booklet about sex trafficking which specifically mentioned the now-defunct web site run by former Phoenix New Times executives Michael Lacey and James Larkin. There also have been partnerships between the attorney general’s office and organizations opposed to sex trafficking and other mentions of Backpage.com.

And Mark Brnovich — along with every other state attorney general — sent a letter to Congress in 2017 about Backpage.com and saying that it was complicit in soliciting sex traffickers’ ads for its web site. The aim was to seek expansion of the ability of state and local law enforcement to fight the practice.

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