Most charges dropped in 'Girls Gone Wild' case



Most charges droppedin 'Girls Gone Wild' case
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A judge on Thursday dropped most of the charges filed against the producer of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series, saying the evidence did not support the allegations involving the filming of a pair of underage girls at spring break.
Of the more than 40 criminal charges filed, only four felony and two misdemeanor counts remain against series creator Joe Francis and his company, Mantra Films, Inc., after two 17-year-old girls claimed a "Girls Gone Wild" cameraman videotaped them in sexual situations on Panama City Beach in 2003.
The remaining felony counts charge that Francis and the company used minors in sexual performances and conspired to use minors in sexual performances. The misdemeanor counts charge Francis and the company with prostitution. Circuit Judge Dedee Costello gave defense attorneys until Jan. 31 to file motions to dismiss the remaining charges.
Prosecutors dropped much of their case against Francis and Mantra Films in early December after Costello denied as evidence hundreds of hours of videotape seized from Francis' condominiums and private jet. Costello said authorities had improperly obtained search warrants.
Pending in federal court is an appeal of a related ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak, who last month ordered Francis and his three top corporate officers to perform community service and ordered the company to pay a 1.6 million fine for filming the same girls. The company in December agreed to pay the fine but then filed the appeal when Smoak added the community service for the individuals.
Bonnaroo festivalwants to buy farm
MANCHESTER, Tenn. -- The Bonnaroo Music & amp; Arts Festival is negotiating to buy the 500-acre farm where the first five festivals were held to be the event's permanent home, the landowner has said.
Bonnaroo officials declined to comment, but farm owner Sam McAllister said the sale could be concluded next week.
Coffee County zoning administrator Ronnie Branch said Bonnaroo official Ashley Capps told the Board of Zoning Appeals last month that a land purchase was imminent.
Capps told the board Bonnaroo wants to improve water lines and roads at the site and said the festival might want to stage smaller musical events at the farm.
According to Web site Billboard.com, the 2006 Bonnaroo festival took in 15 million in revenue and sold out its 80,000 tickets. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Beck, Sonic Youth, Oysterhead, Phil Lesh and dozens of other musical acts performed during the four-day 2006 event.
The next Bonnaroo is set for June 14-17 at the Manchester farm between Chattanooga and Nashville.
Today's birthdays
Pollster Louis Harris is 86. Bluegrass performer Earl Scruggs is 83. Author E.L. Doctorow is 76. Actress Bonnie Franklin is 63. Rock musician Malcolm Young (AC-DC) is 54. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 52. Golfer Nancy Lopez is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kathy Sledge is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 47. Movie director John Singleton is 39. TV personality Julie Chen (CBS' "The Early Show") is 37. Actor Danny Pintauro ("Who's the Boss?") is 31.

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