A federal judge in Panama City, Fla., on Thursday ordered "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis jailed for contempt of court in a civil suit brought by seven young women who claimed the entrepreneur's film crews had placed them in sexually explicit situations.
Francis, the Santa Monica-based multimillionaire who has made a fortune selling risque videos of scantily clad coeds, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak to surrender to court by noon Thursday, but hadn't done so by mid-evening.
Francis told the Associated Press late Thursday that Smoak "had lost his mind."
"This judge has gone as far as to call me the devil and an evildoer," he said. "It is a case of a judge gone wild."
The court order followed a last-minute collapse in settlement talks between Francis' legal team and lawyers for the women, who were filmed on a Florida beach in 2003. The plaintiffs allege that they were "victimized" by Francis' crew by being put in explicit scenes...
Further details about the original charges here, if you want a refresher. He's quite the charmer.
Wonder if his lawyer is another alumnus of AutoAdmit boards). Zuzu's just wondering where the hell he's got to.
Though I suppose Francis does whatever he wants and doesn’t listen to counsel when counsel tells him to shut the fuck up already.
His PR spokeperson's approach is um interesting:
Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for Mantra Films Inc., the company that produces the “Girls Gone Wild” videos, said late Thursday that Francis had no intention of honoring the court’s order.
“We’ve all seen crazy Florida judges, but this development takes the cake,” Torossian said. “This is a case of judges gone wild.”
He said Francis was “very busy” on Thursday “running a business.”
Torossian said Francis was the victim of “extortion” in this case.
“For a judge to tell someone to settle a case or go to jail is a foreign concept to us,” Torossian said. “To threaten someone with jail over a civil case is unheard of.”
As zuzu notes,
Yes, absolutely, you can go to jail for contempt in a civil case. Contempt is one of the ways the court enforces its orders to litigants. Once you submit to the authority of the court, you’re bound by its rules. And one of those rules is that you don’t act abusively to the other parties, particularly during court-ordered proceedings like mediation. And you don’t tell a federal judge that you won’t be obeying his orders because you’re too busy.
Of course, this is secondary to the main subject of the case and of Francis' contempt: the women he exploited, harassed and (allegedly) raped.
It sucks that it takes his finally pissing off the wrong person, i.e. Authoritah, to see his sorry ass in jail at all.
But, it's something.
Crime may or may not pay; but total arrogance often does come back to bite one in the ass...