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Joe Francis Disappointed Hefner Won’t Help; Meanwhile, bond revocation stands in Florida Trial

Reno, Nevada- [NY Post] “GIRLS Gone Wild” tycoon Joe Francis is disappointed with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for failing to support him as he rots behind bars on what he claims are trumped-up charges of using underage girls in a sexual performance.

“Hugh Hefner was arrested in 1963 for a similar offense and pursued by law enforcement for decades. It’s sad how quickly he forgets,” Francis told Page Six from the Washoe County Jail in Reno, Nev.

“What I am going through now is exactly what Hugh Hefner went though, and what Larry Flynt went through, and I will prevail, because I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Francis, 34, has been jailed since April, when a judge found him in contempt for failing to reach a settlement with two 17-year-old girls videotaped in a shower during Spring Break 2003 in Panama City, Fla.

Francis wasn’t behind the camera; a 30-year-old producer was. Both girls lied on camera and showed fake IDs.

While Hefner has cast himself over the years as a firm defender of the First Amendment, he distanced himself on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in May when King asked him about Francis.

“I’m not a fan,” said Hefner, 81, “because I think it’s [exploitative], and I don’t think he’s a very nice guy.”

When asked if Francis was going beyond what Playboy does, Hefner replied: “I don’t see any parallels . . . What sets the magazine apart is it really is a lifestyle publication, you know, with good fiction and good articles . . . It doesn’t have much to do with what he’s doing.”

Yet Playboy was accused of the identical crime in lawsuits filed by five high-school girls who participated in a wet-T-shirt contest during Spring Break 2001 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The underage teens ended up in a video marketed as “Playboy Exposed: All American Girls.”

According to a lawyer who repped one of the girls, the cases against Playboy were quietly settled out of court.

Francis, 34, still faces 40 years if convicted on four felony counts. After he was jailed for contempt, he was busted for possession of contraband – sleeping pills – in his pockets when he surrendered. Francis also faces tax-evasion charges.

Florida- [The News Herald] The First District Court of Appeals, in an opinion released Friday, assured that Joe Francis will remain in custody when he completes proceedings in federal court.

According to a news release from the State Attorney’s Office, the Court upheld the decision of Bay County Circuit Court Judge Dedee Costello, who ruled that Francis had “impugned the integrity of the judicial process” when we was charged with Introduction of Contraband while on bond in his 2003 felony cases.

Costello’s ruling was in response to the state’s motion to revoke the bond, the release said. Francis faces two counts of Use of a Minor in a Sexual Performance, two counts of Conspiracy to Use a Minor in a Sexual Performance, and two counts of prostitution in connection with the activities of his “Girls Gone Wild” business during spring break of 2003.

He was arrested on a contempt of court warrant in relation to a United States District Court civil case.

While in the Bay County jail, Francis was charged with Introduction of Contraband. A hearing on the Bay County charges is set for Sept. 11.

Francis remains in custody, in Nevada, where he faces federal tax charges. The District Court’s ruling means that Francis will remain in custody until he returns to face the Florida charges.


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