PENSACOLA, Fla. — The founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos defied a federal judge Thursday, calling him a “judge gone wild” and refusing to surrender to U.S. marshals on a contempt citation.
U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak ordered Joe Francis into custody after settlement negotiations soured in a lawsuit brought by seven women who were minors when Francis’ company filmed them on Panama City Beach.
The 34-year-old Francis, who makes an estimated $29 million a year through the videos of girls exposing their breasts, drew the contempt order Wednesday after lawyers for the women said Francis threatened them during negotiations.
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.”
Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Francis’ attorneys appealed the order that would send him to jail; the court had not issued an opinion Thursday evening. Smoak denied a request by Francis to stay the order pending the appeal.
Smoak refused requests for comment Thursday.
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