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'Girls Gone Wild' founder guilty of assaulting women, faces jail

May 07, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein
  • "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis is convicted of nearly half a dozen misdemeanor counts in connection with assaults on three women.
"Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis is convicted of nearly… (Chris Pizzello / Associated…)

L.A.'s city attorney praised the courage of the victim after a jury Monday convicted "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis of nearly half a dozen misdemeanor counts in connection with assaults on three women.

Francis, 40, was found guilty after a two-week jury trial on five charges -- three counts of false imprisonment, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting and one count of assault causing great bodily injury -- stemming from the Jan. 29, 2011, incident.

"Whether a celebrity or not, you will be held accountable for your misdeeds," City Atty. Carmen A. Trutanich said in a statement.  "The victims in this case should be commended for their courage in stepping forward and reporting these attacks, and for not being intimidated from seeing this matter through the justice system."  

Sentencing will take place May 8 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.  He faces up to five years in Los Angeles County jail.

The victims told police they had gone to the Supper Club in Hollywood to celebrate a college graduation and had a brief conversation with Francis there.

At closing time, Francis grabbed one of the women by the hand and took her to his limo. The two other women followed, believing that Francis would give them a lift to their car.  

But during the ride, Francis' bodyguard and driver allegedly produced sheriff's badges, and did not allow the women to get out of the limo.

The group was taken to Francis' gated home, where a physical altercation ensued between Francis and two of the women as he allegedly attempted to pull one of them away from the others, authorities said.

Francis grabbed one of the women by the throat and hair and pushed and slammed her head into the tile floor four times, according to authorities.

The women were escorted out of the house and allegedly told a taxi would not be called and paid for if they called the police. Authorities said Francis threatened the women if they called police.

While in the taxi driving back to Hollywood, the victims called 911 and met LAPD officers where their car was parked. The results of the investigation were forwarded to the city attorney’s office for prosecution. 

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Twitter: @anblanx |Facebook | Google +

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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