Judge in 'Girls Gone Wild' Case Requests 'All Relevant Video Footage'

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A judge who is to rule on whether four plaintiffs’ suit against Girls Gone Wild producer Joe Francis will stay alive or be dismissed has ordered that footage of the plaintiffs’ be turned over to him.

The plaintiffs say they were aged between 13 and 17 years old when they were filmed by Mantra, Francis’ company, “in stages of undress or engaged in sexual activity,” the Panama City, Fla., News Herald reported.

Francis’ attorney, Rick Bateman, filed a motion in September to dismiss the case, stating that the plaintiffs voluntarily exposed their breasts, and that breast exposure doesn’t constitute sexually explicit conduct under Florida law. Bateman also asserted that one plaintiff said in a deposition that she simulated a sex act, and that simulated sex acts do not violate Florida law.

Regarding the prostitution portion of civil complaint, Bateman wrote in his motion to dismiss: “They may have been encouraged, but were not coerced, and no criminal charges have been filed against any of the defendants for coercing them into prostitution.”

U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak wrote in his order (PDF provided by the News Herald) that “because defendants’ motion largely revolves around plaintiffs’ actions,” he needs to view the video.

Plaintiffs’ counsel Rachel Pontikes wrote that Francis pleaded guilty to a child abuse count in March of 2008, indicating that Bateman is ignoring “that Mantra and Francis have admitted in their criminal pleas that (Plaintiff B) engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the very footage at issue in this litigation.”

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