Jailed Francis charged with bribing guard


PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- The founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" video empire was charged Thursday with bribing a jail guard for a bottle of water and having prescription sleeping pills in his cell, authorities said.

When he learned of the new charges, Joe Francis waived his right to a bond hearing for the contempt of court charge that had led to his being jailed. Francis cried as his mother blew him a kiss while he was led from a federal courtroom back to his cell.

"I didn't do anything," he told his parents as he was led away, the News Herald of Panama City reported.

Francis, of Santa Monica, was charged with bribing a public servant, three counts of possessing a controlled substance and five counts of introducing contraband -- cash and drugs -- into a detention facility. The charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.

Francis offered a jail guard $100 for a bottled water Wednesday evening, court records said. When the guard refused, Francis showed him $500, investigators said. Inmates are not allowed to have cash in the jail.

When supervisors searched Francis' cell, they found 16 prescription pills, including the sleeping medication Lunesta and the anti-anxiety pill lorazepam, according to court records.

The president of Mantra Films Inc., which produces the "Girls Gone Wild" videos, was arrested Thursday for supplying Francis with the pills and cash, Bay County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Ruth Sasser said. Scott Barbour was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility. He was scheduled to have a first appearance Friday.

It was not known whether Barbour had an attorney.