Cook County Sheriff goes after Backpage’s attorneys

Cook County Sheriff goes after Backpage's attorneys

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart

Tom Dart is the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is the 2nd largest Sheriff’s Office in the country with Los Angeles County in California being the first. Sheriff Dart has long been an outspoken adversary of the now-defunct Backpage.com. Some may say that Dart was one of the main driving forces behind the push to prove Backpage was just a thinly veiled operation designed to facilitate human trafficking. However, now that Backpage has been seized by the Federal Government, Sheriff Dart doesn’t appear to be done with them.

In a pivotal moment in the fight against Backpage, Sheriff Dart wrote to the major credit card companies and urged them to stop accepting payments for Backpage transactions. The credit card companies complied and cut Backpage off from a major source of revenue. Since Sheriff Dart wrote those letters as the Sheriff of Cook County, Backpage sued Dart claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated. But after Backpage was seized CEO Carl Ferrer admitted that the lawsuit was a hoax. Not only was the suit dismissed, but Sheriff Dart asked that Backpage be punished for abusing the court system but also asked that Backpage’s attorneys at the time be punished as well. Dart argued that Backpage’s attorneys should have known that Backpage was lying to the court but a judge denied that request.

More recently, Sheriff Dart has renewed his bid to have the Backpage’s former law firm punished as new information is said to have come to light. Dart asserts that testimony given by Ferrer indicates that the law firm was well aware of Backpage’s criminal activity. According to Ferrer, the law firm that represented Backpage allegedly advised them on a number of legal issues including advice on handling cryptocurrency which Ferrer previously admitted to was part of Backpage’s money laundering operation.

Is Backpage’s former law firm just collateral damage in the legal fight against Backpage or did they have knowledge of what Backpage was really up to?