The Craigslist saga continues, and to prove the fact that we live in a litigious world, the online classifieds site is now suing the South Carolina Attorney General, Henry McMaster.
It’s a response to the AG’s statement that he was considering a criminal investigation into the site, and Craigslist says the suit is actually an attempt to get "declaratory relief" – an attempt to get a judge to decide whether one set of rights unfairly infringes upon another; in this case a criminal investigation on the one hand, and freedom of speech on the other.
In a blog posting, Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster wrote:
"In addition to being unwarranted by the facts, legal experts agree that the charges threatened represent an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, and are clearly barred by federal law."
"Mr McMaster’s repeated threats of criminal prosecution should we refuse to shut down Craigslist for South Carolina have left us little choice but to seek declaratory relief before the court."
McMaster called the suit a victory for him, since it showed that Craigslist was "taking the matter seriously for the first time."
"More importantly, overnight they have removed the erotic services section from their website, as we asked them to do. And they are now taking responsibility for the content of their future advertisements. If they keep their word, this is a victory for law enforcement and for the people of South Carolina."
"Unfortunately, we had to inform them of possible state criminal violations concerning their past practices to produce a serious response. We trust they will now adhere to the higher standards they have promised. This office and the law enforcement agencies of South Carolina will continue to monitor the site to make certain that our laws are respected."
Craigslist said last week that it was removing its Erotic Services section, and replacing it with a more closely-monitored Adult Services section.
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