Celebrity News

Joe Francis a Free Man in Florida After Plea Deal

Mar 12, 2008 | 11:51am EDT

Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis has avoided another lengthy jail sentence in Florida after reaching a plea deal over allegations he videotaped two minors engaging in sexual activity.

The adult filmmaker was given the lucky break on Wednesday after appearing at a Panama City court to face the charges, which date back to the 2003 Girls Gone Wild filming of two underage girls on spring break vacation in the state.

Francis' defense team claims the minors lied about their age to an independent cameraman, and that their sex performance footage was never used.

According to TMZ.com, Francis pleaded no contest to the charges in exchange for being sentenced to time already served.

He will now be placed on six months' "non-reporting" probation and has been banned from filming in the Bay County area for three years.

The prosecution deal will also see the return of Francis' new Ferrari and $60,000 that was confiscated by local authorities in 2007.

Speaking after the hearing, he said, "I am happy to be done with Bay County."

Francis flew into Florida on Tuesday from Reno, Nevada, where he has spent the last 12 months behind bars on federal tax evasion charges.

But his legal troubles are far from over--Francis must return to Reno to stand trial in August, when he faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and a 10-year prison sentence if convicted.


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