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California Judge Gives More Time For 'Online Brothel'

(AP) -- A California judge is giving both sides more time before he tosses out pimping charges against the operators of a major international website that advertises escort services.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman issued a tentative ruling earlier Wednesday saying that the state attorney general's office cannot continue prosecuting Backpage.com's CEO and two former owners.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris had called Backpage.com "the world's top online brothel."

But at an afternoon hearing, the judge said he wanted more briefings from the parties before throwing out pimping and trafficking charges.

The judge earlier sided with 55-year-old CEO Carl Ferrer and former owners Michael Lacey and James Larkin that the website operators are protected by federal law related to free speech.

He says he'll rule by Dec. 9.

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