Fresh from success at closing down the adult section of Craigslist, US censors are now targeting other small ads sites.
Village Voice Media and Backpage.com have issued a statement in response to a letter sent to them from 21 state attorneys
general demanding the closure of the adult services section on the online classified site. The response was a resounding if respectful no.
Backpage.com is a legal business and operates its website in accordance with all applicable laws, the
statement reads. In response to concerns raised by the AGs in recent months, Backpage.com has increased its efforts to provide clear, legal rules to users who post classified ads and to ban users who violate those rules. While no system is perfect,
even the AGs acknowledge Backpage.com's good-faith cooperation with law enforcement.
The company further states that while 58 million ads have been posted to the site in the past two years only 6 million have been in the adult services
section, and that state and federal authorities have asked Backpage.com to testify in cases involving the alleged abuse of minors a total of five times, and continues to respond to all valid law enforcement subpoenas.
disappointed that the AGs have determined to shift blame from criminal predators to a legal business operator in an apparent attempt to capitalize on political opportunity during the election season, the statement continues, in a tone that only
increases in exasperation. The Internet was born. The federal government enacted laws to regulate its use and to allocate responsibilities and immunities to web operators. Backpage.com follows those laws and it declines to censor an entire section of
free speech from its website.
Censorship will not create public safety nor will it rid the world of exploitation, the statement concludes.
The New Jersey Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court decision that would have have closed the XXXV Club nude cabaret.
The Borough of Sayreville had set its zoning regulation so strictly that there was no site available for the
business. This is constitutionally illegal in the US. However Sayreville contended that the Internet provided an alternative forum or site for XXXV Club to conduct its sexually oriented business.
Therefore Sayreville felt that they could file suit
against the club, claiming it violates a state law prohibiting sexually oriented businesses within 1,000 feet of a park or residential area and licensing requirements of the borough. The borough sought to permanently prevent XXXV Club from operating its
But the appeals court said there were not sufficient number of suitable alternative sites for the expression of this constitutionally protected form of expression.
Specifically, the borough argues that live interactive sexually oriented content delivered through mass media channels, such as the Internet, should have been considered by the trial court as a reasonable alternative to the live nude dancing offered by XXXV Club.
In the view of many people, the live nude dancing experience offered by XXXV Club cannot be completely replicated in cyberspace. Despite the great unexplored potential of the Internet as a medium, including its
interactive capabilities, it cannot yet, in such people's view, substitute for a live performance.
The 2-1 decision sends the case back to state Superior Court.
The Men of Jesus Christ reported on their website:
On 18th September about 40 people came out to protest against Family Video and the fact that they distribute pornography in the town of Tonawanda in New York State.
There were many people that we spoke to that were totally unaware of this and immediately turned around.
Of course there was the flip side as well, where people were so desensitized to
pornography that they just did not care. And there were those that came out and told us that they were OK with it and it should be there. There was even a situation in which a woman and her 12 and 6 year old, just to spite the protest, said to the
manager, in front of her children, Can you point me to the dirtiest movie you have in here? .
This is the problem that this country faces, the fact that pornography is legal, but just because it is legal does
not make it right.
The major response I received from people who were pro-porn was that I may not agree with it, but what you do in your home is your business and if you don't like it, then don't rent it .
The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to affirming sexual freedom as a fundamental human right, will celebrate Sexual Freedom Day on September 23 in
Washington, DC with the release of the State of Sexual Freedom in the U.S. 2010 Report.
The report is intended to provide a baseline discussion of where we (the U.S.) are politically and socially and what can be done to advance sexual freedom
as a fundamental human right into the mainstream of American society in the next 20 years.
The event in DC will also include presentations of the Woodull Freedom Foundation's annual Vicki awards, given to individuals or organizations
whose work and/or life embodies the mission and vision of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.
The recipients of this year's Vicki Award are Bina Aspen & Martine Rothblatt, Dr. Deborah Taj
Anapol, Kushaba Moses Mworeko and Susan Wright.
Former Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis has revealed that she is running for governor of New York as a minor-party candidate.
Davis is hoping to push her causes of legalizing and taxing marijuana, legalizing gay marriage and decriminalizing
Of her plan to decriminalize prostitution, she said it should be run as in Nevada, where the women are protected from pimps and are regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Davis, who has secured a line on the
ballot in November for her Anti-Prohibition Party, said she plans to carry out a statewide tour. And if she gets 50,000 votes in November, she will secure an automatic ballot line for at least four years and gain a voice in New York politics.
Craigslist has removed the censored bar it had placed over its adult services section after it shut down the section last weekend.
The site replaced the section with the black bar about a week after a group of state attorneys said there weren't
enough protections against blocking potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution.
Craigslist spokesperson Susan MacTavish would not comment but told the New York Times that the ads are still blocked.
The Times report said that analysts
speculate that Craigslist used the word censored to make a statement: Though Craigslist is not legally responsible for what people post on its site, state attorneys general and advocacy groups have been pressuring the company to shut down the
adult services section. But analysts also said that the outpouring of attention that Craigslist's sex ads have received in recent days would make it very difficult for the site to bring back the ads .
Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at
the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote that supporters of the First Amendment should loudly voice their opposition to this type of misguided rhetoric from elected officials.
Several mean minded campaign groups have praised Craigslist for shutting down its adult services section in the U.S., but called on the online classifieds Web site to do the same throughout the world.
We feel that Craigslist did the
right thing, and we thank Craigslist for voluntarily closing the section, Bradley Myles, executive director of the Polaris Project, said: We feel like as the largest classified ads site to have an adult services section, this action will help
prevent sexual predators from targeting women and children. There are more erotic ads outside the U.S. than there are inside the U.S., he said. We feel like if Craigslist is serious about addressing this issue … they have a global responsibility
to close all these sections immediately.
Malika Saada Saar, executive director of the Rebecca Project, also said that she was pleased that adult services was removed from the U.S. site, but urged Craigslist to show the same conscious
and commitment to girls internationally.
Craigslist removed the adult services section but put a censored image over the former adult services link rather than delete it permanently. When asked if that made it seem like
Craigslist was making a political statement rather than actually taking steps to combat sex trafficking, Myles and Saada Saar said they would like to think Craigslist was doing the right thing.
We want to think the best, and … we want to think
that [Craigslist founder Craig Newmark] is trying to do the right thing, Saada Saar said: That being said, we are absolutely saddened by the framing of it as censorship, she continued. This is not a First Amendment issue; this is not
a free speech issue. This is about human rights. When a child or woman is sold for sex, that is a human rights issue.
Comment: Craigslist isn't now free of sex – you just
can't pay for it
Why should sex, alone among all forms of human interaction, be thought to spawn malignant magic when money changes hands?
Adult services, of course, is a euphemism for sexual services. Lawmakers hated Craigslist from the get-go
because sex workers used it to advertise their services. Yet if you listen to politicians praise themselves now that the ads are gone, you won't hear much talk about banning activity between consenting adults. No, politicos prefer to invoke The Children.
In a statement her office released Saturday, California congresswoman Jackie Speier blamed websites such as Craigslist for child prostitution. We can't forget the victims, we can't rest easy. Child sex trafficking continues and lawmakers need to fight
future machinations of internet-driven sites that peddle children.
No argument there: forcing children into prostitution is an utterly abhorrent crime. Forcing anybody into prostitution is, and when callous sociopaths turn innocent victims
into sexual slaves for their own profit, it's undeniably good when police shut down these loathsome enterprises.
Yet when attorneys general started crusading against Craigslist, it wasn't kidnapping rapists they worried about, but adults who made
money selling consensual services.
For the last 12 years, I've dedicated immense amounts of time, money and energy to end violence against women and children. As a victim of violence myself, I'm deeply committed to destroying any institution or individual leveraging the sex-power matrix
that results in child trafficking, nonconsensual prostitution, domestic violence and other abuses.
If I believed that censoring Craigslist would achieve these goals, I'd be the first in line to watch them fall. But from the bottom of my soul and
the depths of my intellect, I believe that the current efforts to censor Craigslist's adult services achieves the absolute opposite. Rather than helping those who are abused, it fundamentally helps pimps, human traffickers and others who profit
off of abusing others.
Ladies & gentlemen, get ready for America's new moral panic—sex trafficking!
Yes, CraigsList has bowed to pressure from law enforcement, non-profits, and CNN, and has blocked access to its adult services section. They've replaced the
link with a black bar stamped censored. CraigsList has been pummeled with criticism for allegedly facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking in the U.S..
The online marketplace Craigslist has closed its adult services listings in the US.
The company has not said why it took the decision, but it has faced an ongoing barrage of criticism from attorneys general and nutters who claimed the
listing was a virtual tool for pimps and prostitutes.
The section has now been replaced with a black and white bar that reads censored . An erotic service is still active outside the US.
A statement from Craigslist executives
is expected in the coming days.
Last week in a joint letter to Craigslist, 17 attorneys general said women and children would continue to be victimised in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist .
General Richard Blumenthal, a persistent critic of both the erotic and adult listings Said: We welcome any steps toward eliminating the adult services section and prostitution ads on Craigslist, as we have urged, and we are seeking to verify the
site's official policy going forward .
but at Wired, Evan Hansen said: Internet services may accelerate and exacerbate some social problems like prostitution, but they rarely cause them. The root of these issues - and their solutions - lie
in the realm of public policy, not web sites.
A US magazine produced by and for US sex workers has announced its up coming closure. They write:
We regret to inform you that, while we expect to publish 5.4, the Crime and Punishment Issue and 6.1, the Race Issue
(guest-edited by a fabulous collective of sex workers of color) by January, $pread will close its glittery doors soon after the dawn of the New Year.
We apologize for those of you who have only recently come to know
us, and to all our longtime supporters. After all these years, five all-volunteer years to be exact, we have come to the conclusion that an all-volunteer magazine is simply unsustainable in the current publishing climate. Short of a donation of $30,000,
we will be unable to sustain the magazine past January.
We hope that you will look forward to a $pread retrospective in book form, featuring highlights of our five years of publishing. We will also package a $pread
Scrapbook for sex worker advocates looking for tips and tricks on publishing a magazine by and for people working in the sex industry. We are producing these materials in the hopes that our model will help motivate the continued movement for social
justice among our many and varied communities, in the same way Danzine inspired our own publication.
$pread was motivated by the motto Illuminating the Sex Industry. We submit these five years of blood, sweat,
and tears to you as a testament to this founding sentiment. May the struggle to end the stigma, discrimination, and violence perpetrated against our communities end in justice, and may the flashy strobe light of sex worker rights never go out, but
illuminate the sex industry for the world to see.
Anti-porn nutters have filed a legal safety complaint against the porn magazine mogul Larry Flynt, citing an unsafe work environment.
The AIDS Health Foundation sent an arsenal of DVDS of his films to the state Division of Occupational Safety and
Health Office in Los Angeles. In only one of the 100 DVD's, is there any indication of an actor using protection , according to AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea.
The AHF's premise is that, by Flynt not requiring the use of condoms in his films, it
sets up a growing body of evidence that the lack of use promotes the spread of STD's, specifically, AIDS. They are petitioning the state regulatory agency to order the use of condoms on all porn film sets.
Flynt begs to differ. According to
Micahel Klein, president of Larry Flynt Productions, the request by the AHF is overbearing and unreasonable. He says that the end-user of the films will not watch people engage in sex who wear condoms. We won't budge when it comes to condomless
productions, he said in a statement. That's what the consumer wants, and we deliver it.
The Federal statute regarding safe sex practices requires that actors in the porn industry be tested for HIV 30 days prior to the beginning of
OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in California will investigate a complaint according to the merits of the case. Conversely, the alleged offending party can ask that an investigation be launched to prove that a
complaint is without merit.
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem has ruled in favor of a sweeping law that would impose unprecedented restrictions on adult businesses in Missouri.
In denying a temporary restraining order request Friday afternoon by a consortium of
adult businesses, Beetem cleared the way for the law to go into effect Saturday.
Among other restrictions, the law prohibits full nudity and the serving of alcohol, forces semi-nude dancers to remain on a stage and at least six feet from
patrons—rendering lap dances impossible—prohibits closed-door booths for the viewing of movies, requires that patrons remain within the clear view of employees, and mandates that adult businesses close by midnight.
According to the Associated
Press, Judge Beetem said the coalition had failed to show their lawsuit is likely to ultimately succeed or that they will suffer irreparable harm by allowing the law to take effect. The operative word there would seem to be irreparable. During a
hearing before Beetem, lawyers for the businesses insisted that the harm could very well be irreparable, and would certainly seem that way for the employees who will now certainly lose their jobs because of the severe restrictions that are about to be
But while Beetem acknowledged in his ruling that the law will undoubtedly change the business practices of strip clubs, adult video and book stores and other businesses of a sexual nature, and that they will likely suffer some
economic loss, he added that economic loss alone does not alter the analysis of the legal issues.
Judge Jon Beetem has tossed a constitutional challenge to a state law enacted in 2010 that imposed sweeping restrictions on adult businesses in the state. Despite the ruling, which was anticipated, adult bookstore and club owners say they will
appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, where they figured it would end up anyway.
Craigslist.org CEO Jim Buckmaster has said that the online classified site wants to work to address concerns raised by a group of state attorneys general that urged the firm this week to eliminate adult services ads.
We want to work with
the attorneys general to address all of their concerns, which we share, Buckmaster said in an e-mail response to Tech Daily Dose. Abdicating our responsibilities in the face of this demand would be a disaster for the very societal issues the AGs
hope to address. It would encourage the notion that government censorship can address complex societal challenges that will be met only through thoughtful, sustained investment in our communities.
Attorneys general from 17 states wrote
Buckmaster and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark calling on the firm to drop adult services section from the online classified ads offered on the site.
The attorneys general had written: Because Craigslist cannot, or will not, adequately screen
these ads, it should stop accepting them altogether and shut down the adult services section.
Almost two years after 40 state attorneys general reached an agreement with Craigslist regarding its oversight of ads in the erotic services section, the pressure on the web-based classified service to shut down the section altogether is once again
gathering serious momentum.
The latest salvo comes from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who said the site should shutter the section and also be held responsible for crimes committed by people using its listing services.
Whether it's physical assault, sexual assaults, the kinds of prostitution and, some instances, homicides that have occurred as a result of what is un-policed trafficking online around the human sex trade,
Coakley is seeking congressional action. According to WBUR.org, she wants Congress to amend a 1996 federal law that gives websites like Craigslist immunity from prosecution for the illegal activities undertaken by users of the site:
The Internet is exempt from that, she said. And that may have made sense in 1996, but the consequences of no policing, no ability to enforce what is a level playing field for the Internet, has had all kinds of consequences.
The last triple-X movie theater in Philadelphia was on its way to becoming a part of history until, at the last minute, the city's zoning board approved a variance to expand the space significantly. Despite continuing opposition from a neighborhood
group, it now looks as if the venerable Forum Theater on Market Street will be around for years to come.
According to an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic, Inga Saffron, the battle over the Forum is all but over, since it is
very rare for the courts to reverse a zoning board decision. In March, a Common Pleas Court judge upheld a decision made in 2009 by the zooming board to allow the theater's owner to raise the roof by three feet.
That sounds trivial, she
wrote, but, as theater attorney Ronald D. Patterson told me, the extra height would enable his client to insert a mezzanine and increase the operation's total floor space by about 80%.
The extra space will allow the theater to construct a
new second-floor stage as well as install private viewing booths. In exchange for the variance, the theater's longtime owner, Anthony Trombetta, said he would do away with the Les Gals, another strip club he owns on Market Street. According to Saffron,
that allowance by Trombetta gave the zoning board the justification it needed as cover for its decision.
The board's logic, according to court documents, was that a one big porn palace was better for Market Street than two small ones, she
wrote. In allowing Trombetta to enlarge the Forum, city planners and the zoning board went hook, line, and sinker for his argument that a consolidated porn operation would benefit Market Street.
Online marketplace Craigslist has responded to an open letter claiming the site helps promote prostitution.
A paid-for advert in The Washington Post saw two women make an appeal to close the site's adult section, saying it had wrecked their lives.
The ad featured a letter from a 17-year-old woman calling herself MC.
The letter said: I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28-year-old man. All day, other girls and I sat with our laptops,
posting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist.
I am 17 now, and my childhood memories aren't of my family, going to middle school, or dancing at the prom. They are of making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be
sold for sex, and answering as many ads as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths.
The letter said that Craigslist was now the choice of traffickers because it was so well known and there are rarely
consequences to using it for these illegal acts.
Craigslist responded by asking if the crimes had been reported to the police, adding it was combating trafficking. If Craigslist was misused, we want to learn more so we
can improve our preventative measures.
The firm's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, replied by asking if the perpetrators are behind bars and if the advocacy groups who placed the adverts could let us know where the
police reports were filed. We have been unable thus far to identify police reports matching the crimes you describe. If anyone committing such crimes has not yet been apprehended and prosecuted, we want to do everything in our power to assist the police
in making that happen.
Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal - who is heading up a group of 39 US states examining Craigslist's adult services section - called on the section to be closed.
Earlier this year, the US
lawmaker subpoenaed Craigslist, and asked whether it is actually profiting from prostitution ads that it promised the states and public that it would try to block.
Buckmaster said that Craigslist had now implemented manual screening of each
adult service ad, adding that it thought that the events described [in the advert in the Washington Post] may have occurred before manual screening was implemented .
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a nutter group attempting to force adult performers to use condoms and dental dams in every sex scene, has just been handed a setback by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS has ruled that
its Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has no jurisdiction over AHF's complaint that AIM Healthcare Foundation had violated performers' rights in asking them to sign a voluntary waiver of medical privacy over their AIM test results.
The US adult
industry has achieved absolutely minimal cases of AIDS/HIV by requiring performers to be tested rather than insisting on condoms. The nutters of AHF are trying to throw a spanner in the works by suggesting that test results can't be made available to
porn producers on privacy grounds.
The ruling is a victory—albeit possibly a fleeting one— for AIM, which has been under attack for more than a year by AHF, which has made complaints about AIM's testing and medical confidentiality protocols to
several state and federal government agencies. However, it is likely that AHF will attempt to refile its complaint with another agency within HHS.
John Stagliano was set free last week when a federal judge ended his obscenity trial on procedural grounds. If convicted, John would have been jailed for 32 years and had his home and business confiscated.
Instead, a few million dollars of
your tax money was wasted by a Department of Justice investigation, purchase, viewing, and indictment of Milk Nymphos, Storm Squirters, and Fetish Fanatic.
The charge was simply that the DVDs appealed to the average person's prurient interest,
were patently offensive, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. These are the actual words of the Miller Test that guide the law. If you can get a jury to agree that a given recording, painting, book, DVD,
or stage show meets these three tests, the government can declare the thing obscene. It then loses its First Amendment protection, and it creator and distributor can be sent to jail.
A US District Court Judge, Michael Baylson, has granted the government's motion to dismiss the Free Speech Coalition's (FSC) attack on the onerous 2257 record keeping requitements.
The FSC, in its original complaint, said the revised 2257
regulations are unconstitutional, as well as an unfair burden placed to producers to comply with the regulations.
Baylson rejected the FSC's case, focusing on the trade group's 4th Amendment challenge.
Baylson, in his decision, said that
the government has a substantial interest in preventing sexual exploitation of children in the production of such depictions.
He noted producers of such depictions have adequate notice that their records will periodically be inspected by
government officials and that Congress has both authorized inspections and created rules, further fleshed out by implementing regulations, governing the procedures that inspectors must follow.
Adult DVD Empire will plead guilty to an obscenity charge filed against the company by federal prosecutors.
Attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that this appears to be a pre-arranged, pre-packaged deal where all the parties involved came to an
agreement in advance.
Walters says the deal was structured in a way where the corporation was charged, not an individual, so no one will be doing time in jail.
As part of the deal, Adult DVD Empire will be on a three-year probation and pay
a $75,000 fine.
Federal prosecutors filed the charges July 22 charging that the company, which operates AdultDVDEmpire.com, mailed four DVDs containing obscene material to an Erie post office box in May 2007.
Walters says the charges seems
to have been initiated by Mary Beth Buchanan, the former U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, who was active in obscenity prosecutions
The four DVDs are identified as A Bounty of Pain, Shattering Krystal both
from Dan Hawke Productions, Extreme Tit Torture 18 from Galaxy Productions and Pussy Torture 8 also from Galaxy and directed by Rick Savage.
The judge has ruled the John Stagliano case is over.
US District Judge Richard Leon, ruling that the government didn't meet the burden of evidence on any of the eight charges, admonished prosecutors over their efforts.
I trust that
the government will learn a lesson when going forward, Leon said in his ruling. The myriad of novel legal issues that have bubbled up in this case will continue to pop up around the country.
Leon found that the government had not shown
any evidence that either of the two corporate entities effectively had any direct ties to the charges, or that the defendant himself had any direct links to the videos he was charged with.
While there was circumstantial evidence, Leon ruled that
it was insufficient for a jury to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The courtroom erupted into applause after the judge read his ruling and dismissed the jury.
Outside the courtroom Stagliano, perhaps joking, said he was disappointed. [The government] didn't put up much of a fight. They were sloppy and not passionate and doing the prosecution for the wrong reasons,
Stagliano told XBIZ.
A Stagliano attorney, Louis Sirkin, told XBIZ that it proves if you've got the guts to fight, wonderful things can happen. He compared Stagliano to Lenny Bruce and others who protect the 1st Amendment.
Dozens of people have protested in front of the Craigslist headquarters, calling on the popular website to close its Adult Services section and set a sex industry-free standard which would eliminate human trafficking on the Internet.
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Prostitution Research and Education and over 75 Co-Sponsors said technology should never be used to prostitute women and girls.
Protesters said a large portion of Craigslist profits come from the sale of
commercial sex. They say Craigslist normalizes and facilitates online pimping.
They become another channel. They become cyber pimps. The owners of Craigslist need to regulate their website, said Alfonso Faustino, a Filipino-America
candidate for California Assembly.
Members of the US Prostitutes Collective, who held a counter protest this afternoon, said stopping sex workers from advertising in Craigslist will do more harm than good.
Rachel West of US PROS said, Stopping sex workers from advertising in Craigslist will prevent women from being able to work more safely from premises. It is ten times safer to work indoors than on the street. When sex workers are forced out of premises, many end up working on the street and are more vulnerable to rape, violence and arrest as a result
The US House of Representative passed a supplemental appropriations bill (HR 4899). It contains an easy-to-miss provision that some legislators have been trying to get passed into law for several months that would prohibit funds to any recipient that
doesn't block porn on its computer network.
According to an OpenCongress summary of the legislation, which passed by a vote of 239-182, This bill would provide billions to support US troops in Iraq, help teachers and police get through the
recession, help Vietnam war veterans etc.
But tucked into the second-to-last page of the bill is the short provision—Sec. 4601(a)—that outlines the pornography restriction, which reads, None of the funds made available in this Act may be used
to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography.
Seemingly straightforward, the wording of the anti-porn provision has some people concerned that its reach may
extend far beyond actual government-owned computer networks to include those belonging to any contractor or subcontractor who receives even a dollar from the government for any work required under this bill.
Pat Trueman, a former Justice
Department saying he had yet to examine the exact language, but that if it could be legally problematic if it says that in order to get a government contract, a business must filter out all porn for all employees—even those not on a government
The jury selection process has begun in the highly-anticipated John Stagliano obscenity trial.
Opening statements will more than likely begin at the end of the week.
Stagliano and his companies, Evil Angel Productions Inc. and John
Stagliano Inc, are charged with seven counts for illegal possession, distribution and sale of two videos sent through the mail, Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2 'Target Practice' .
Stagliano faces a maximum of 32 years in jail and
$7 million in fines if convicted on all counts. The trial is expected to last two weeks.