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'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Joe Francis Likely Headed To Prison After Convictions For Assault, False Imprisonment

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First Posted: May 07, 2013 12:24 PM EDT
'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Joe Francis Faces Possible Prison Time After Conviction
'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Joe Francis Faces Possible Prison Time After Conviction (Photo : BAY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

"Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis was convicted on Monday of a handful of misdemeanor charges, including assault and false imprisonment in connection with a previous altercation with three women. He faces up to five years in prison.

The Los Angeles County Attorney's office confirmed that after a two-week trial, Francis was found guilty in court of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting and one count of assault that caused great bodily injury.

These convictions stem from an incident that occurred outside the Supper Club in Hollywood on January 29th 2011.

The three victims in this case were at the famed Hollywood bar/restaurant reportedly celebrating a college graduation when they met Francis and the foursome struck up a brief conversation. Upon closing time at the end of the night Francis is said to have pulled one of the women by the hand into his personal limousine and invited the other two to join them.

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The trio were under the impression that Francis was going to give them a lift to their car but Francis's driver/bodyguard Vagram Gegdzhyan is said to have produced a Sheriff's badge, impersonating a law enforcement officials, and refused to let the women exit the limo. He proceeded to drive to Francis's private home.

According to City Attorney spokesman Frank Mateljon, "the group was taken to Mr. Francis's gated residence where a physical altercation is alleged to have taken place between Mr. Francis and two of the women as he...attempted to pull one of them away from the others. During the altercation, Mr. Francis...grabbed one of the women by the throat and hair and pushed and slammed her head into the floor four times."

The women were then told to leave the premesis and warned that if they called police a taxi would not be called or paid for. Francis also reportedly subjected to additional undisclosed threats if they called the police to report the incident. Once in a taxi, however, the women immediately called 911 and were met at their car by Los Angeles Police Department officers who began an investigation, according to reports.

he results of this investigation were sent to the city District Attorney's office for prosection. The DA refused to file felony charges in the case and sent the case on to the City Attorney who filed misdemeanor charges, HuffPost reports.

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

A sentencing hearing for Francis is scheduled for May 8th.  He faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

 

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