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Convicted Girls Gone Wild Mogul Joe Francis Breaks Silence: 'Retarded' Jury 'Should Be Shot Dead'

This story first appeared in the May 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Joe Francis digs his fingers into my knee.

"I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f--ing retarded and you should be euthanized because, as Darwin said, you have naturally selected yourself," he shouts. "You are the weakest members of the herd. Goodbye! And if that jury wants to convict me because I didn't show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot!"

It's early evening on Tuesday, May 7, and Francis, 40, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that clings to his muscular frame, is seething. Just the day before, a Los Angeles jury deemed the Girls Gone Wild founder guilty on three counts of false imprisonment and one of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and now he faces the real possibility of time in prison when he is sentenced in July (though he notes the charges are misdemeanors, not felonies). It's the latest brush with the law for a man who could write a treatise on running afoul of it, who keeps a veritable posse of lawyers in his employ at any given time. But Francis is adamant he is innocent of the allegations brought against him on behalf of three young women, who said he took them to his house, kept them there and even assaulted one.

PHOTOS: Tax Evader and Accused Jailbaiter: Inside Joe Francis’ Criminal Charges

After multiple e-mails and phone calls, he has agreed to an exclusive interview just before departing on a long-planned vacation to India -- first saying he wouldn't address anything "legal," then agreeing to talk about the latest charges as well as all his other issues.

He sits on a couch in his sleek, Bel-Air home, sandwiched between his girlfriend (25-year-old Wilhelmina model Abbey Wilson) and this reporter. We are well into our third -- or is it fourth? -- $55 bottle of Double Diamond Bomber X cabernet.

"The problem with the jury system is that anyone who's not smart enough to come with an excuse to get out of jury duty doesn't get out," he continues. "Only the stupidest of the stupidest people end up on juries, you know? I've never met a smart person who's done jury duty."

Francis has been jailed in Florida and Nevada; successfully sued for defamation by Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn, whom he now owes $20 million; indicted for tax evasion and filming underage girls; blamed for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of a company connected to Girls Gone Wild (which he says he no longer owns); and banned from entering GGW's Santa Monica offices by bankruptcy trustee R. Todd Neilson, who filed suit to keep Francis off the premises.

Add to all this Los Angeles Times reporter Claire Hoffman's claim in a 2006 article that he pinned her to a car and twisted her arm so hard tears flooded her eyes -- and that's an awful lot of mischief. But none of it, says Francis, is his fault.

PHOTOS: 'Girls Gone Wild' Creator Joe Francis: 'If I Wasn't Me, I'd F---ing Hate Me'

"You know why I've been criticized, why I've been brutalized?" he says. "Anybody who criticizes me, anybody who -- it's just a jealous guy. Everybody who says, 'Oh, Joe Francis is this' -- look at their penis and tell me if it's small. Tell me!"

And how about the size of his own, um, manhood? He laughs gleefully. "It's been widely reported my penis is huge, but look, I have nothing to prove" -- upon which he tries to do just that, tussling with his rather sweet girlfriend and urging her to tell me about his assets. She wriggles away, mortified.

"Tell him!" he laughs.

"No way!" she yells, vanishing into the kitchen.

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Then Francis is back to explaining why juries hate him: "I have private jets, I have a great life, I'm a good-looking guy. I'm not conceited, but like -- look, I have girls around me all the time, whatever I want. I make a lot of money. It's a great life. If I wasn't me, I'd f--ing hate me."

Actually, despite his braggadocious quotes, he is in person generous, trusting, warm and eager to please, qualities that have endeared him to a Hollywood who's who -- from next-door-neighbor Quincy Jones to CAA's Kevin Huvane to Paris Hilton to the Kardashians.

Francis grew up with three sisters in Laguna Beach, Calif., the son of an entrepreneur and homemaker with whom he has severed all ties.

He got his first big break when he compiled TV outtakes into the video Banned From Television, using innovative direct marketing tools to sell it. Soon after, he filmed young women, often intoxicated, exposing themselves and created the Girls Gone Wild franchise. That made him a millionaire many times over but also opened him up to lawsuits from women who claim they weren't fully cognizant when they signed release forms. He dismisses all the suits against him.

STORY: How to Keep a Celebrity Sex Tape Off the Internet

"I've had 1 percent of all the lawsuits Steven Spielberg has had," he insists. "I was at lunch at Jeffrey Katzenberg's house, and his son David was like, 'You've gotten sued a lot.' We're all playing backgammon. We're at the Malibu house, and I love Jeffrey, and I love David, OK? And then Jeffrey looks at him and goes, 'Son, do you realize how many active lawsuits DreamWorks has against it?' And he goes, 'It's 1,000 lawsuits against DreamWorks right now.' "

Francis doesn't say how much all this has cost him, or how much money he has now -- though he certainly has enough operating capital to pay for six to eight lawyers, the number his criminal defense attorney, David Houston, estimates are working on his various suits. He also has enough to maintain a 40,000-square-foot estate in Punta Mita, Mexico, along with the Bel-Air house, where bottles of Chateau Petrus and other $10,000-plus vintages are in his kitchen.

He spends much of his day working from home and has been trying to get film and television projects off the ground, while working with the Kardashians on a skin care line. It is unclear how involved he remains with GGW or what its financial condition is. (Neilson declined comment.)

Francis' lawyer Houston has been with him since Francis was jailed in Panama City, Fla., in 2007 (he was jailed for contempt of court during talks to settle charges that his cameramen filmed two underage 17-year-old girls exposing themselves). Francis shot back with his own lawsuit against a U.S. District judge, the girls' parents and Bay County officials, alleging there was a conspiracy against him. He noted in his complaint that his story was the kind "Nina Simone sang about; William Faulkner wrote about it; historians teach about it."

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Indeed, they might have, given what came next: "They ended up moving me to death row," he says.

Death row? In Panama City? "Yeah, with all the convicted murderers. I was there on a civil lawsuit. But they wanted to punish me so bad, they put me on death row with all the death row inmates. I was on death row with the murderers for six months. Like, should I take the blue juice? The blue juice is what they'd use [to execute prisoners]. When they would get out for 30 minutes a day, they would come by my cell and talk to me about how they wanted to die."

He gets up to search for the inmates' letters, then changes his mind. "I want to show you their letters. I've never shown anyone these things," he says. "One guy disemboweled his wife and cut out the baby and threw it away. It was awful. These people are awful. They put me on death row with convicted murderers, people that would rape and kill dead bodies. I was in an orange jumpsuit -- shackled and chained in my cell. Death row, that's how it works, man."

(Francis' lawyer Houston later clarifies: "They held him in a wing of that jail that had the most dangerous criminals, potentially headed for death row.")

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Adds Francis: "I went to a place in my mind where I could survive and realized how f--ed up this country was. And I really do want to show you the letters. I want to show you the letters and what they wrote me because it was like: 'She wanted me to kill her. The devil told me.' I mean, they're crazy people."

Throughout, Francis refused to plead guilty until "the guy killed himself in the cell next to mine. And I was done. And then I called my attorney in tears, and I said, 'I'm taking the deal.' I could've walked out six months before. I wasn't going to plead to a crime I didn't commit. I'm not a child abuser. And I wouldn't plead to a sex crime at all, ever. Then, finally, I broke down, and I'm like: 'Oh, this is enough murder; this is enough death around me. Whatever. Child abuse? Fine, I'm a convicted child abuser.' I got out that day." He pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abuse and two counts of misdemeanor prostitution and paid what was reported to be a multimillion-dollar settlement to the girls.

STORY: 'Girls Gone Wild' Creator Joe Francis Convicted of Assaulting a Woman

The experience didn't tame him and, in 2007, Francis got into a fight with Wynn over a $2 million gambling debt. As their battle escalated, the casino magnate successfully sued for defamation after Francis accused Wynn of threatening to kill him. (The verdict is being appealed.)

"He's an asshole," says Francis. "Steve Wynn is a monster, piece-of-shit asshole. He really is a piece of shit. By the way, I'm going to have his ass. He is a scoundrel."

He leans back, momentarily drained. He hasn't eaten anything in the several hours we have spent together and already has gone through a photo shoot as well as talks with a lawyer, who has been shuffling in and out of his office.

"I'm drunk," he admits, before looking at one of two glasses in front of me.

"Fill up his glass!" he says.

"But he already has a full glass," insists Wilson.

"He wants that one! That's the one he wants! Fill it up!"

STORY: Why a $40 Million Verdict Against 'Girls Gone Wild' Creator Joe Francis Was Cut

As she does, he moves on to his present legal issue, which emerged from a 2011 accusation by three students. "Rich guys don't do that," he repeatedly states. "I'm a sophisticated, classy guy."

So what happened?

"All I did was do a nice thing," he says, recounting how he invited the women home after meeting them at the Supper Club in Hollywood. "It just proves that any celebrity in Hollywood should never give a ride home to any girls. I mean, there were 20 people in the afterparty. They [say they] got their head slammed on a tile floor and they were imprisoned here for hours. They said it was here on the tile floor. I don't see any tile right here. Now you've been here for hours. Have you been imprisoned?"

He notes: "It's a misdemeanor, anyways. Look, at the most, I could get 90 days of anger management. That's the maximum." So why has the media reported that he could face five years in prison? "Because they're reporters, and they're assholes, of course." (The maximum could be five years, according to prosecutors, but legal sources believe such a sentence is unlikely.)

Innocent or guilty, surely Francis agrees he's a magnet for trouble.

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"I am who I am," he says.

"He is who he is," adds Wilson.

Not even he can be blamed for the most horrific incident in his fast and furious life, when he was robbed at gunpoint, kidnapped and held in the trunk of his own Bentley in 2004.

"A masked man walked in, put a gun to the back of my head," he says, reliving the moment with evident pain. "Probably about midnight. He says, 'You're home early.' He walked in with a mask right out of that room [the kitchen], put me on the floor right there. [Then] he moved me upstairs. Everything was duct-taped. My mouth was duct-taped. My face was duct-taped, and he would un-duct-tape me to get bank codes and wire things out of my accounts. He put a dildo next to me, and he's like, 'Oh, I'm not gay, I'm not gay.' And then he pulled my shorts a little bit." Did the assailant force the dildo on him, as reported? "There was no sex stuff whatsoever -- that was untrue."

STORY: Pamela Anderson, Lionel Richie and Joe Francis Among Hollywood Names on California's Tax Delinquents List

He starts to describe how Darnell Riley, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the crime, threw him in his car and drove him down the hill. Then he breaks down.

"This is horrible," he says, fighting tears. "He drove me to the bottom of the hill, and he left me in the car, and it's just, like -- it's really hard. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive." He's up on his feet, now. "What else do you need for the interview? Because I'm done."

It's 11 p.m. The lights are dimmed low, lending a warmth to this large open home, removed from the city and Francis' legal problems. You can see Los Angeles spread out in the distance, views stretching beyond a wall with its large painting of a jagged red arrow pointing to the word "danger," one story below a video installation of a naked woman rocking back and forth on a swing.

I rise and gather my things while Francis takes a bathroom break. As we wait, Wilson quietly tells me just what took place during the kidnapping, how Francis remained locked in his car until the police found him, and how his friend Hilton was told the attacker's identity at a party, leading to his arrest.

Francis returns, and they hold hands. It's clear Wilson cares for him, though it's less clear how long she'll be able to endure his roller-coaster life. She met him a few years ago, two weeks after arriving in L.A. from Oklahoma City. Then, during a split, he had a weeks-long marriage (or "civil union," in his words) to Entertainment Tonight's Christina McLarty.

STORY: Madonna Didn't Change 'Girl Gone Wild' Because of Joe Francis, Her Rep Says

Wilson has had more than her share of problems, including a battle with anorexia, and the two have gone through therapy -- well, VH1's Couples Therapy, which airs this summer. Now they're planning a family. "We're going to have kids this year, or we're going to start," says Francis, beaming.

In the sudden chill of the night, as they escort me to my car, he seems terribly vulnerable -- such a raw, gaping wound of a human being that one wonders what will become of him. Gone are the glory days when Jennifer Aniston reportedly bought Brad Pitt GGW videos and when the likes of Jack Nicholson and Orlando Bloom were rumored to be Francis' houseguests.

Soon, he'll be away from Hollywood and his troubles during a monthlong trip to India, set to commence the day after our interview. But then he must return for his July 9 sentencing.

As I leave him to ready for the trip, he gives me a great bear hug and a kiss. "Just don't do what everyone else does," he says.

"Don't make me look crazy."