Girls Gone Wild Founder Sentenced for Contempt

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - The multimillionaire founder of the Girls Gone Wild video empire pleaded guilty to contempt of court Monday in Bay County, Florida.

Joe Francis will spend 35 days in jail.

He apologized to the judge and cried throughout the 45-minute hearing.

Francis drew the original contempt charge during negotiations in a federal civil suit brought by seven women. They were minors when filmed by his production company on Panama City Beach in 2003.

Lawyers for the women said Francis became enraged and verbally abusive during settlement talks, so the judge ordered Francis to settle the case or go to jail.

Talks broke down and the judge issued a contempt order.

Francis initially refused to surrender. He was met a few days later at the airport by federal marshals and booked into the Bay County Jail.

Francis has also been charged with bribing a jail guard for a bottle of water and having prescription sleeping pills in his cell.

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


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