'Girls Gone Wild' founder Joe Francis convicted of misdemeanour assault, false imprisonment

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was found guilty Monday of misdemeanour counts of assault and false imprisonment stemming from a dispute with three women after a night out at a Hollywood club in 2011.

Francis' company, GGW Brands LLC, made a fortune selling "Girls Gone Wild " videos and magazines showing young women flashing their breasts. The company filed for bankruptcy in February after years of legal troubles, listing more than $16 million in disputed claims.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said in a statement that after a two-week trial, a jury convicted the 40-year-old Francis of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault causing great bodily injury and one count of dissuading a witness. He faces a maximum of five years in prison. A hearing to schedule his sentencing was set for Wednesday.

Francis met the three women as they celebrated a college graduation at a the Supper Club in Hollywood on Jan. 29, 2011, took one of them by the hand as he left and took her to his limo, and the other two followed thinking Francis was giving them a ride to their car, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Francis took the women to his home and a dispute broke out when he tried to separate one from the other two, with Francis grabbing one of the women by the hair and throat and slammed her head into the floor.

After an investigation, the district attorney declined to file felony charges in the case and referred it to the city attorney, who filed the misdemeanour charges.

Previous phone numbers for Francis were disconnected, and neither he nor his attorneys could immediately be reached for comment.

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