Most Charges Against Girls Gone Wild Producer Dropped

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - A judge in Pensacola dropped many felony charges against the producer of the popular Girls Gone Wild video
series Friday.

The judge cited a lack of evidence to support the charges involving the filming of young girls at spring break in Panama City Beach.

Only four felony charges and two misdemeanor counts remain in the 2003 case in which Joe Francis, the creator of the soft porn video empire, was charged with more than 40 criminal offenses.

Prosecutors dropped much of their case against Francis and his company, Mantra Films, in early December after a judge suppressed hundreds of hours of videotape seized from Francis' condominiums
and private jet. Costello said authorities had improperly obtained search warrants.

The remaining felony counts, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, charge Francis with using minors in sexual performances and conspiring to use minors in sexual performances. The two misdemeanor counts allege prostitution.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)