Joe Francis Sues to Rescind Settlement

LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Girls Gone Wild" entrepreneur Joe Francis wants a California court to rescind a settlement he claims a federal judge coerced him into signing.

Francis, who created the popular video series that features young women baring their breasts, filed a lawsuit today against the parents of three underage girls, aiming to vacate an agreement reached in Panama City, Fla., and get his payout returned. The girls were filmed there, and their parents subsequently sued Francis.

He agreed to settle the civil case after U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak jailed him in 2007 for contempt of court.

In Francis' suit, he accuses Smoak of siding with former law partners to jail Francis and force him to settle on terms favorable to the girls. An attorney from a law firm where Smoak was once a partner represented the girls and their parents.

Smoak declined to comment on Francis' allegations.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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