A judge has ordered Henry McMaster, attorney general of South Carolina, not to file any criminal charges against Craigslist until the related matter is settled in court.
A judge for the U.S. district court in South Carolina on Friday issued a temporary restraining order in the case. Craigslist sought the order after McMaster threatened the service as well as its managers with criminal prosecution.
McMaster has demanded that Craigslist do more to halt prostitution ads from appearing on its site. He said he would instruct his staff to launch a criminal investigation unless the ads were removed. He continued issuing threats even after Craigslist agreed to shut down its "erotic" section and replace it with a new "adult" area.
Craigslist has filed suit against McMaster, whose motivations were questioned in a story by The Associated Press. On Thursday, the AP reported that McMaster has never prosecuted a prostitution case in six years. Critics have said that if McMaster were serious about combating prostitution, he could start trying cases or at least go after newspapers and other classified publications that also offer the same kind of questionable content as Craigslist.
Craiglist representatives declined to comment and McMaster's office did not reply to an interview request.