NEW YORK (AP) — Some Democratic politicians are asking a federal judge to go easy on a former CEO of a popular male escort service website who pleaded guilty last year to promoting prostitution.

Jeffrey Hurant, who ran the site, is facing sentencing on Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors have called the site an online brothel and want Hurant to serve at least a short prison term. His lawyers say he deserves no more than probation.

In letters to the court, the politicians and other supporters cautioned that a tough sentence could send the wrong message to the gay community.

Before authorities arrested Hurant and seized the Rentboy site, it had thousands of advertisers paying up to $300 a month and 500,000 visitors a day.