"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis has apologized for calling the jury that found him guilty "retarded."
Francis, who was recently found guilty of imprisoning three women in his home, issued an apology on the heels of an interview published by The Hollywood Reporter that quoted him as saying his jurors were "mentally ... retarded" and "should be euthanized."
"Only the stupidest of the stupidest people end up on juries, you know? I've never met a smart person who's done jury duty," he said in the article.
But now he's singing a different tune, apologizing to the jury, court, city attorney and his attorneys for the harsh comments and still maintaining his innocence. He instead blames reporter Stephen Galloway for selecting only his "intemperate remarks" and the media for "manipulating" his comments.
"I deeply regret the remarks attributed to me in the interview with the Hollywood Reporter," Francis said in a statement Wednesday. "They were hurtful and do not reflect my true feelings.
Francis maintained that he disagreed with the jury's verdict, ascertaining that he is "completely innocent of the charges" and intends to appeal the decision handed down this month.
The soft-porn movie founder 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 an incident that occurred Jan. 29, 2011.
"I was afforded a fair trial, and if I lose at the appellate level, I will reluctantly but fully accept the jury's verdict," he said in the statement.
Francis said that he was interviewed for six hours by THR for the story and "detailed to the reporter all of the evidence and why I believed the evidence showed I am 100% innocent," he said. He also said that the reporter interviewed his attorney David Houston for more than three hours and didn't include any information that could acquit him in the piece.
"All that was publicized were my most intemperate remarks that were borne out of frustration but with no intent to cause anyone harm," he said. "I am not, nor have I ever been a violent person. My comments are appalling, but anyone who has ever been wrongfully convicted of a crime that they did NOT commit would be as frustrated as I am."
Francis called his comments "appalling" but said they came from a deeply frustrated place.
"Anyone who has ever been wrongfully convicted of a crime that they did NOT commit would be as frustrated as I am. ... Please know I am truly ashamed of my conduct. I am truly, truly sorry. I hope everyone will understand I was not being serious and that I fully and deeply apologize for my remarks."
Francis has quite the rap sheet. In 2012, he lost a multimillion-dollar defamation case to Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn after claiming he had proof that Wynn cheated "high-end customers." In 2009, he pleaded guilty to bribery and filing a false tax return and, in 2006, was the subject of a 2006 Los Angeles Times profile that started with him slamming a female reporter against a car and twisting her arm behind her back, Show Tracker reports.
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