Michael Lacey and James Larkin, the founders of the classified site Backpage.com, have been accused of laundering money and facilitating prostitution. At their trial on Tuesday, a judge declared a mistrial, saying the government tainted the jury with testimony about child sex trafficking rather than giving emphasis to the crime at hand.

Judge Susan Brnovich said that the government, as prosecutors, are held to a higher standard, and their "goal is not to win at any costs," but to win by the rules, reported Azcentral.com.

Larkin, Lacey and four other employees of Backpage are accused of being part of a scheme that involved selling advertisements for sex on the platform. Prosecutors said that the site featured many advertisements that depicted child sex trafficking victims, but nobody in the federal case in Arizona is charged with child sex trafficking or sex trafficking as such, according to Fox News.

The judge said that the cumulative effect of the references to child sex trafficking that prosecutors made in opening statements "is something that I can’t overlook and will not overlook." Before the trial, Brnovich said that she would allow prosecutors to provide evidence showing that people were trafficked using the platform, but would not let them go indepth about the abuse faced by victims. Brnovich noted that one government witness talked about being sexually assaulted more than once, which raises a "whole new emotional response from people."

Larkin and Lacey said their site didn’t allow advertisements for sex and used automated tools and people to try to delete such advertisements. They said that the site helped authorities in investigating cases related to sex trafficking and law enforcement complimented for their assistance.

Six former Backpage operators said they are not guilty to facilitating prostitution charges. Out of the six employees, Larkin, Lacey and two others have pleaded not guilty to charges related to money laundering. Authorities said that the site generated $500 million in prostitution-related revenue from 2004 to April 2018 when the government shut it down.

According to prosecutors, the operators of the site didn’t pay heed to warnings to stop running prostitution advertisements, some of which involved kids.

Oct. 5 has been set as the new trial date.

This screen grab image obtained April 9, 2018 shows backpage.com and affiliated websites
This screen grab image obtained April 9, 2018 shows backpage.com and affiliated websites that have been seized by the FBI in Washington, DC. Two co-founders of Backpage and five executives of the classified advertising website have been indicted on charges of enabling prostitution and money laundering. Backpage was abruptly shut down by the US authorities on April 6, 2018 and the indictments, by a federal grand jury in the southwestern state of Arizona, were unsealed on April 9, 2018. "For far too long, Backpage.com existed as the dominant marketplace for illicit commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement."But this illegality stops right now," Sessions said. "It can no longer be used by criminals to promote and facilitate human trafficking." Among those indicted were Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68, who launched the site in 2004 along with another individual identified only by the initials "C.F." Photo by AFP via Getty Images