Celebs

'Girls Gone Wild's' Joe Francis convicted of assault

May 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM ET

Joe Francis.
© Danny Moloshok / Reuters / TODAY
Joe Francis.

The creator of the "Girls Gone Wild" DVD franchise Joe Francis may spend as much as five years in jail after being convicted of assaulting a woman in 2011, according to L.A. Weekly.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's office said on Monday that Francis was convicted of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of "dissuading a witness from reporting" and one count of assault, which caused great bodily injury.

The prosecutors said that the 40-year-old Francis had invited three women into his limo, parked outside the restaurant/bar Supperclub in Hollywood, Calif. two years ago; two of the women said later that they thought they were just being taken to a parked car nearby. But as the City Attorney's spokesman noted in 2011, the limo's driver brandished a sheriff's badge and refused to let them exit the limo.

The City Attorney's office also said that Francis brought them to his place and a physical altercation ensued. "(He) grabbed one of the women by the throat and hair and slammed her head into the tile floor four times."

Afterward, Francis let the women go with a warning not to call police -- but they didn't listen.

Noted City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, "Whether a celebrity or not, you will be held accountable for your misdeeds. 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."

Francis has been in trouble with the law before for allegedly assaulting women, but charges have not stuck. In 2012, a car collision in Beverly Hills turned physical, and Playboy model Jayde Nicole also accused him of assault at a nightclub. And last September, he was ordered to pay another $20 million in damages to Steve Wynn for claiming the casino owner threatened to kill him.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.


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