The jailed Girls Gone Wild founder allegedly offered a guard $500 for a water bottle

By Sara Hammel
April 13, 2007 09:15 AM

Joe Francis is having a bad week.

Jailed in Florida for criminal contempt on Tuesday and indicted in Reno for tax evasion on Wednesday, the Girls Gone Wild creator has now been charged with bribing a jail guard for a bottle of water and possessing prescription sleeping pills in his cell, the AP reports.

According to court records in Florida, Francis offered the guard $100 for a bottle of water on Wednesday evening. When guard turned him down, Francis showed him $500, investigators said. Jail inmates are not allowed to have cash.

Supervisors then searched Francis’s cell and discovered 16 prescription medications, including Lunesta – a sleeping pill – and the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, court records show.

After learning of the new charges, Francis waived his right to a bond hearing for the contempt of court charge on which he’d been jailed, the AP reports. He wept as his mother blew him a kiss as he was led from a federal court room back to his cell.

“I didn’t do anything,” Francis told his parents as he was led away, according to the Panama City News Herald.

The new charges include bribing a public servant, three counts of possessing a controlled substance and five counts of introducing contraband into a detention facility.

The AP reports that Francis could face up to five years in prison for the alleged crimes, which are third-degree felonies.

On Thursday, Scott Barbour, the president of Mantra Films Inc., which produces the Girls Gone Wild videos, was arrested for supplying Francis with the pills and cash, Bay County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ruth Sasser told the AP. He was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility and is expected to appear in court on Friday.

However, there was one piece of good news for Francis: On Thursday, attorneys for seven women who sued him in 2003 for filming them in sexual situations announced they had reached a settlement in the case. Francis’s spokesman Ronn Torossian confirmed the settlement but offered no further details.

Francis was charged with criminal contempt last week after allegedly changing the terms of an agreed-upon settlement in that case.

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