"Revenge Porn" Site Was Immoral But Not Illegal: Defense - NBC 7 San Diego

"Revenge Porn" Site Was Immoral But Not Illegal: Defense

Kevin Bollaert's business described as "immoral" or "sleazy" but not illegal

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    'Revenge Porn' Site was Immoral But Not Illegal: Attorney

    Closing arguments were heard in the case of a San Diego man on trial for setting up a "revenge porn" website. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports. (Published Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015)

    A man accused of posting more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos of women to a website to extort them for money sat quietly in court Thursday morning, as he watched his defense attorney try to convince the jury of his innocence.

    During closing arguments, defense attorney Emily Rose-Weber said while 28-year-old Kevin Bollaert's business may have been "immoral" or "sleazy," it was not illegal.

    The case went to a jury on Thursday afternoon.

    She compared her client's now defunct website Yougotposted.com, to other websites that defend people's reputations.

    "Revenge Porn" Was "Immoral" But Not Illegal: Defense

    "Revenge Porn" Was "Immoral" But Not Illegal: Defense
    Closing arguments began Thursday in the so-called "revenge-porn" case centering around a San Diego man accused of posting sexually explicit images of women to extort them. NBC 7's Chris Chan is in downtown with what the defense is arguing.
    (Published Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015)

    Bollaert faces 31 felony counts, including six counts of exortion, after ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands submitted photos to his website. The photos included links to the victims' social media accounts.

    Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin said victims were directed to another website, created by Bollaert, called ChangeMyReputation.com. Victims were charged $300 to $350 to have their photos removed.

    The victims were distraught and desperate to have the photos removed, Austin said during opening statements. In her closing argument, Austin described the site as a "blood sport."

    "All that blood on the floor. All that humiliation. The fact that I'm the one that makes all the money off ot it. I just provided the venue -- not my bad," Austin told jurors. "That's not the way the law works."

    In addition to paying a hefty fine, victims were also told they must submit another photo to Bollaert holding a sign with their birthdate.

    Rose-Weber argues her client should not be held legally responsible.

    "Is it illegal to host a website where bad things happen?" Rose-Weber said in her opening statement. "Is it illegal to hold up a big blank canvas to anyone who wants to paint it?"

    Rose-Weber described Bollaert to the court as an aspiring web developer who wanted to start a business in the tech industry.

    The so-called "revenge porn" case is the first of its kind, filed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

    The prosecution is expected to make their closing arguments Thursday.