Joe Francis: 'The truth has come out!'

By: Chad Mira Email
By: Chad Mira Email

Panama City - Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis has gone home with his bank accounts intact. Early Thursday morning a federal jury decided Francis is not liable for emotional distress suffered by four women who were suing him and three of his companies. They ruled the women should not receive any money.

The trial some called a circus came to an end early Thursday morning after a twelve hour jury deliberation. Francis himself admits he didn't expect the outcome.

"By one in the morning no. I was definitely pacing the floor...When i got the call i jumped for joy and screamed because this is finally over," Francis said.

Francis started the trial defending himself. But after receiving a contempt order during cross-examination of one of the plaintiffs,he hired local attorneys Rachel Seaton-Virga and Gerard Virga.

"You don't often see attorneys come in mid-case where someone been representing themselves pro se. We had limited discovery so coming into this i was definitely a little nervous," Seaton-Virga said.

"Rachel and Gerard Virga are two of the best lawyers I've ever worked with. They deserve a lot of credit...but i was able to cross examine, pick a jury, represent myself," Francis said referring to the first few days of the trial. He cross-examined all of the plaintiff's himself before hiring representation.

Despite Judge Richard Smoak's continual threat and warnings, his attorney's felt Fancis did a good job representing himself.

"Mr. Francis has to be given some credit because he had the courage to come down here to face the allegations himself to face this federal court and federal jury panel and to defend himself," Gerard Virga said.

"This is also so personal to me...This is my name the past eight years that's been dragged through the mud," Francis said.

Attorneys for the four women refused to comment after the verdict.

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Panama City - After deliberating for twelve hours, the eight-woman jury awarded no damages to the four girls suing Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis. The verdict came in shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday morning.

The jury found none of the plaintiffs suffered emotional distress at the hands of the defendant. Francis' three corporations had already been found liable in a default judgment prior to the trial, but the jury also excused them from any damages.

The jury began deliberating just before 1 p.m Wednesday, and over the course of the twelve hour deliberation, it only broke twice to ask Judge Richard Smoak questions related to the case. The first question they asked was "Who is Aero Falcons?" Aero Falcons is one of Francis' companies and one of the defendants in the case. However, the company was never brought up during the civil trial, which caused confusion to the point where the jurors were not sure of who all the defendants were.

Four girls sued Francis and his companies for damages they claim they suffered after a Girls Gone Wild crew filmed them while they were underaged.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Suzanne Location: PCB on Apr 8, 2011 at 05:45 PM
    I believe that if God would bless Mr. Francis with twin daughters, he would change his profession.
    • reply
      by charles on Apr 10, 2011 at 09:18 PM in reply to Suzanne
      I would imagine that if he if ever blessed with daughters of his own he would teach them not to come to spring break,drink underage and then flash total strangers on camera...in other words to not get drunk and act stupid
    • reply
      by RDNKGRL on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM in reply to Suzanne
      Let's all pray God does not give an immoral guy like him daughters.
  • by ra Location: Panama City on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    The VIRGAS represented that clown? Are there any decent lawyers left who care to represent reputable, favored people?
    • reply
      by Jay on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:59 PM in reply to ra
      No, the represented Francis not the disreputable, unfavored plaintiffs.
  • by RY Location: Panama City on Apr 8, 2011 at 09:11 AM
    So, they dragged his name through the mud, cost him his time and money defending himself when they knew good and well what they were (voluntarily) doing and they don't even have to publicly reveal they're identities? What a crock! At least the justice system came through and didn't award them anything. Congrats Mr Francis, and I hope you don't have the impression everyone down here in the panhandle are good ole boy rednecks - some of us actually have some sense.
    • reply
      by RDNKGRL on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:15 PM in reply to RY
      I don't think they dragged his name through the mud. He makes his living filming girls flashing themselves. I don't think that really says too much about his character.
  • by ed Location: panama city on Apr 8, 2011 at 08:03 AM
    OK, lets move along folks. There's nothing left to see here. Go back to your homes and places of business.
  • by Jessie Location: pc on Apr 7, 2011 at 06:41 PM
    He'll be back next spring with his whole immoral crew. The rednecks here deserve what they get.
  • by Debby Location: Panama City on Apr 7, 2011 at 06:38 PM
    I bet Francis feels stupid. He wasted all that time and money. If he had just gone to trial sooner instead of avoiding all the legalities, he would not have put in jail and been free of the whole deal a long time ago.
  • by dayday Location: panama city on Apr 7, 2011 at 04:59 PM
    i think they should put their faces all over the news just like they did to Joe......they were basically calling him a rapist and damaged his image.....i know what its like to be put in that position just for some girl to be covered.....not a good feeling so put them on the front page of the news paper just like you would do me and like you did Joe
  • by dayday Location: panama city on Apr 7, 2011 at 04:55 PM
    im just saying, the parents are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves.....they let them out in the first place and i bet it wasnt the first time they took their clothe off.....and now they want to sue........hope they learned a good lesson......dont blame Joe for your childs behavior
  • by T-dog Location: Panama City on Apr 7, 2011 at 02:13 PM
    Well good job jurors. I'm not saying Mr. Francis' business is the most moral, but hey! if you play, you pay. These girls may be embarrassed but they've learned a lesson. Keep your clothes on, and if your underage, DON'T DRINK!!!
  • by Panamaed Location: PC on Apr 7, 2011 at 01:22 PM
    I think Joe needs to ask Judge Smoak for his $2,500 back, too. He abused his discretion in citing him for contempt. I think he would have won the case by himself.
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