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'Girls Gone Wild' creator Joe Francis sentenced to jail for assault

"Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis was sentenced Tuesday to 270 days in jail and three years' probation for an assault and false imprisonment of three women.

As part of the sentence, he must complete a year of psychological counseling and an anger management course.

Francis was convicted of five charges — three counts of false imprisonment, one of dissuading a witness from reporting and one of assault causing great bodily injury — stemming from a Jan. 29, 2011, incident.

Judge Nancy L. Newman handed down the sentence after denying a motion by Francis' lawyer for a new trial based on allegations that one of the accusers lied during the trial and that the three women went willingly to the home and were never falsely imprisoned.

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.

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 that a taxi would not be summoned and paid for if they called the police. Authorities said Francis threatened the women if they called police.

While in a taxi driving back to Hollywood, the women 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.

Francis had previously called the jury that convicted him "mentally ... retarded."

Last year, he was ordered by a civil court to pay $40 million to casino owner Steve Wynn in a defamation case, a verdict that was later halved.

He was sentenced in 2009 to 301 days already served and a year of probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts — for withholding $500,000 in interest income from his federal tax returns and for bribing jail workers for food.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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