On Friday April 6th, veteran newspaper founder, writer, and half of the duo that began the infamous Backpage, Micheal Lacey, was set to celebrate his wedding at his home in Paradise Valley. Just as festivities were commencing, FBI agents stormed the Lacey residence, in what would be said was an invasion fit for the likes of a serial killer or organized crime leader, and not of a 48 year veteran of the newspaper industry. Read more: Jim Larkin | Twitter
The other half of Backpage, Jim Larkin, also faced federal raids and arrest on the same day, along with Lacey, and a home owned by Lacey in Sedona was raided as well. The duo faced a federal indictment due to Backpage’s support of their Adult listings section, which has been said by critics to be nothing more than a ‘online brothel’.
The indictment included 93 separate counts, and involved seven names, though Lacey and Larkin were the only two made public initially. In addition to the indictments, raids, and arrests, the FBI also took down Backpage’s online residence.
Paul Cambria, Lacey’s criminal defense attorney, blatantly labeled the federal shutdown of Backpage as direct journalistic censorship. Cambria, who once represented Hollywood Hustler founder, and porn mogul Larry Flint, has a long history of defending clients who’s First Amendment rights have been infringed.
On the 9th of April, the indictment was made available online, and included not only the names of Lacey and Larkin, but several Backpage Executives. it was also revealed that Scott Spear, John Brunst, and Jim Larkin were charged with money laundering, while Spear and Larkin also faced facilitating prostitution and conspiracy charges. There are no sex trafficking charges mentioned.
This information is pertinent considering the allegations of Cindy McCain, wife of Senator John McCain, chair holder of a place on the Arizona Governor’s Human Trafficking Council and staunch opposer of Backpage.
In speaking to the Arizona Republic following the indictments, McCain was said to be overjoyed by the news of the shutdown, and said she had heard that Backpage offices had been raided and the website had been shutdown without providing a source for her information.
In the same interview, McCain says both herself and others had urged Lacey and Larkin to change their ways, but that the two had ‘wanted no part of it’. McCain has long advocated that Backpage ‘sold children for sex’ without any kind of evidence to support her claims, comparing consensual adult prostitution with child sex trafficking. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Village Voice Media | Wikepedia
This is not be the first time that Lacey, Larkin, and the McCains have crosses paths, however. While Lacey and Larkin owned the Phoenix New Times, a paper they had launched in 1970 as college dropouts, the news outlet had repeatedly reported on the McCain’s misdeeds.
One such article, a 2000 cover story named ‘Haunted by Spirits’ details Senator McCain’s reliance on his wife’s inherited fortune from her father’s distributorship for Anheuser-Busch.
Another, the ’94 release ‘Opiate for the Mrs.’ detailed Cindy McCain’s addiction to Vicodin and Percocet, and the allegation that she had been using her own non-profit, American Voluntary Medical Team, an organization setup to fly doctors and supplies to third world and war torn countries, as a personal pharmacy.
With this information brought to light, it’s easy to see how Lacey and Larkin, and all of the Backpage indictments, could be nothing more than a morally corrupt senator’s wife vying for revenge.