Internet Law

New Accusations Against Craiglist Suspect Fuel AG Attack on Website

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Announcing new accusations today against the so-called Craiglist suspect involving a third claimed assault victim, the Rhode Island state attorney general also fired a verbal salvo at the website accused of posting advertisements to which Philip Markoff allegedly responded.

The Boston medical student already was being prosecuted in Suffolk County, Mass., in the shooting death of Julissa Brisman, 25, on April 14 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. Now he is also accused of a April 16 assault on a prostitute at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Warwick, R.I., reports the Boston Globe.

A judge has signed a warrant seeking four new charges against Markoff. They are: assault with intent to rob, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a handgun, and use of a firearm while committing a crime of violence, according to Patrick Lynch, the Rhode Island attorney general. However, Markoff likely will not be formally charged for at least six months, while his Massachusetts case continues, the newspaper reports.

Markoff, who is being held without bail, has pleaded not guilty in Suffolk County.

The Globe says text messages sent from his cell phone linked him to the Rhode Island crime, citing unidentified sources.

Referring to a television interview last week with a Craiglist official, Lynch decried the alleged use of the website by Markoff to troll for victims, the Globe recounts. “He said it was only one incident,” Lynch said of the official’s comments. “I think it was totally irresponsible. It was a murder.”

The website has reportedly made significant efforts to cooperate with law enforcement and eliminate such advertising. However, Lynch is among a growing number of attorneys general seeking stricter controls over Craigslist customers.

Earlier coverage: “AGs Call for More Oversight of Web Ads After So-Called Craigslist Murder”

CNet: “State AGs to meet with Craigslist over sex ads”

St. Louis Business Journal: “Koster targets Craigslist prostitution ads”

Updated at 9 p.m. to clarify that Markoff allegedly responded to advertisements.

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