`Girls Gone Wild` founder cleared of ‘underage exploitation’ charges by all-female jury

Last Updated: Apr 09, 2011, 15:14 PM IST

New York: ‘Girls Gone Wild’ founder Joe Francis has won a court case against four women in Florida, who claimed the filmmaker took advantage of them when he taped them flashing their breasts and engaging in other X-rated behavior.

The women said they suffered emotional distress after he filmed them for his widely circulated video series, when they were under 18 years of age.

They even tearfully testified that they were ridiculed and had to leave school when the tapes were released.

But Francis had argued that the women had consented to being filmed and they simply made up the claims.

The GGW boss had represented himself during the two-week trial until Judge Smoak charged him with contempt of court and fined him 2,500 dollars after he asked one of the plaintiffs during cross examination if she was a prostitute.

It was then that he decided to forgo a legal team.

The case went to trial in Panama and after a dramatic, eight-day civil trial, an all-female jury decided that the Francis was not liable for any of the four female plaintiffs`` claims.

"I am relieved that I have finally been vindicated from these slanderous, disgusting, and now proven false allegations in a federal court by a jury of eight respectful, conservative women," the New York Daily News quoted Francis as saying in a statement.

"My legal team did an outstanding job and ``Girls Gone Wild`` will continue to take strident measures to avoid facing these false allegations ever again,” he added.

ANI