Founder of `Girls Gone Wild' Video Empire in Federal Custody

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" video empire is in federal custody in Bay County.

A sheriff's office spokeswoman says Joe Francis was taken into custody by federal marshals earlier Tuesday and booked into the county jail. He faces a contempt of court citation after initially defying a federal judge.

He was ordered held without bond at a preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for Francis says he will likely be held until at least Thursday when he is scheduled to appear before a federal judge.

Francis makes almost 30 million dollars a year from videos of young women baring their breasts and in other sexually provocative situations.

He drew the contempt citation during negotiations in a civil lawsuit brought by seven women. They were underage when they were filmed by his company on Panama City Beach during spring break in 2003.

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

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