Joe Francis to Remain in Reno Jail

Anne Winter
RENO, Nev. — After a Tuesday release, Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis has chosen to remain in jail, his lawyer said, in order to avoid another jail sentence — without bail — for new charges in Florida, where he previously served time for contempt of court.

Francis was relocated to the Nevada jail last month after a federal judge ruled that his $20 million tax-fraud charges took precedence over those he had been held for at the time in Florida. In April, Francis turned himself in to Panama City, Fla., officials to serve his 35-day sentence.

Francis' defense lawyer, David Houston, told the Associated Press that Francis' attorneys decided the adult producer should stay in Reno after learning of new decisions made by the Florida judge.

Florida Circuit Judge Dedee Costello refused bail to Francis Tuesday on his 2003 charge of using minors in his videos, and has ordered Francis also be charged with possession of a controlled substance, as well as possession of contraband. In April, Francis was discovered carrying prescription sleeping pills while serving his Florida sentence at Bay County Jail.

Houston said he called off Francis' bail post of $1.5 million, which had been posted Tuesday.

"If I post [bail], Francis goes to Florida, and it took us a month to get him here," Houston said. "There's no reason for me to want to send him back to that environment. We had hoped he'd be out today."

Kevin Mercuri, a press representative for Francis, told XBIZ that Francis has not yet made an official statement regarding his decision to stay in Reno.

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