Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Joe Francis on Life in Jail

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 18, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis has not been convicted of a crime, but he is in a Nevada jail and will probably stay there through his tax evasion trial, which is not begin until April 29, 2008.

But Joe says his current living conditions in that jail are a big improvement over the Panama City, Florida jail where he was held earlier this year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you end up here in Nevada? What is holding you here?

JOE FRANCIS, FOUNDER OF "GIRLS GONE WILD" VIDEO SERIES: Thank god I got indicted for tax evasion. No, thank go, because I got out of their town. They were torturing me down there.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you are happy to be indicted here in Nevada?

FRANCIS: I'm happy to be out of the town, but the tax evasion charge came from the Assistant U.S. Attorney. It's a civil matter, and I'm sure it will be resolved. I am sure I will be vindicated 100 percent on the tax matter. But it is allowing me to sit here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is better?

FRANCIS: What they did to me down there, Greta — I was in a civil lawsuit, I had no criminal record. I had never been to jail before. They would shackle me in the shower, handcuff and shackle me, make me walk naked around.

I was fantasizing about Abu Ghraib stories. That would have been an improvement on what they did to me. And they were ordered to do it. The good old boys got involved in that too. We got him, let's get him. And nobody was treated like that, not even the worst murderers in that unit.

VAN SUSTEREN: How were you treated in jail? Give me specifics.

FRANCIS: I will tell you a story, and this was a daily walk that I would do. I would have to get naked, and — I was in a civil lawsuit, OK? I was very emotional. I had never been in jail. I was locked in a solitary cell.

They would come in, they would make me get naked, they would shackle me, and then they would handcuff me and belly chain me naked. They would a small tile to cover my genitals, and then two guards would walk me down the hall through a common corridor with inmates on both sides. And those inmates would scream, yell, and mock me.

And I would have to walk in the shackles, and they hurt. That was very emotional. I would be crying during this whole thing.

And I would fall. Sometimes you trip on it and they're very tight and you fall. And they purposely put them tight to abuse me. I would fall, and then there would pick me up.

And then I remember this one time walking down I fell, and they picked me up, and I had this little towel, and it sometimes came off, and they would walk me — this is walking me to the shower down the hall. And the inmates were mocking me on both sides and scream at me. They were not in these conditions.

And I would be crying, and fell again. And they came and they picked me up. And it was the chaplain, he had been walking the hallway. And he looks at me, the chaplain of the thing, and he says, son, have you thought about Jesus Christ.

And I crying, and I look at him, and I go, every day, because this is what they did to him.

And the guy looked back at me, and I knew he knew then that this was wrong. I was in a civil lawsuit.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do they treat you here?

FRANCIS: Like a human being. They're first class people here.

Obviously I have had something to compare it to. They are first class. Sheriff Mike Haley, Sergeant Mills, Captain Hodges — they have all done such an amazing job in just making sure I got treated like every other inmate and like a human, because what I came from was disgusting, it makes me sick. I cannot believe it can happen in this country.

We talk about Abu Ghraib, we talk about Guantanamo, we talk about these things, and you look, and it can happen here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were they doing this to other people down in Panama City?

FRANCIS: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just you?

FRANCIS: Just me.

And one of the guards said that they were instructed to make my life miserable. They didn't give me reading material. I've spent 60 days of this six months in solitary confinement.

Greta, they would do things to the point — they would put a tray of food, and they would put it outside my reach because I was in a locked down cell, I was only allowed one hour out every day. And they would put it out of reach, and that they would mess with me.

They would be like, well, I guess he refused, Bob. OK, he refused. Let's write it down that he refused his meal. And I would say I want to eat it. And no, you know.

And can I have toilet paper? Should we give him toilet paper, John? I don't know, I guess his toilet paper day is Friday. You still have to wait until Friday. I would say I didn't get toilet paper on Friday.

Just sick stuff that was all I know, prompted by the good old boys network. They made sure it was happening. They made me go off my prescriptions, which can result in death. The way I was treated, it was inexcusable.

VAN SUSTEREN: And here you don't have any of that?

FRANCIS: These people are not corrupt. This is a good group of people who are doing things right.

VAN SUSTEREN: If I saw the judge and I asked what do you think of Joe Francis, what you think he would tell me?

FRANCIS: I think there's such an arrogance there that he would tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me what?

FRANCIS: I got him.

I bet you there were high fiving each other, the good old boys were high fiving each other. And the sick thing is they're getting off on this.

I have been reluctant to come forward. This is my first interview. I been reluctant to talk about any of this stuff because they know what they did, and they are going to get off on hearing about how they tortured me. That is the sick thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: They enjoyed it?

FRANCIS: I think they enjoy this. I think they enjoy — we got him.

And my father and my parents, it is probably some of the most emotional visits that I have had with them. They come see me, and one time I was chained up, and I was down there like Hannibal Lector.

And they were on the other side of the glass and they were crying, and I was crying. And I said I haven't done anything. These people are just getting off on destroying my life.

It is sick. I can't believe it can happen. It is happening in the United States. I sit in a cell every night, and I wake up and I scream.

I just remind myself that we are in this country. As long as I can remember we were taught about our rights. It is just not true. This is happening here. This is happening to me here.

There's so much misinformation out there that people obviously assume this and assume that. I was in a civil lawsuit, OK? I am a victim of corruption.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is a day like here in Nevada at this facility where you say they treat you like a human being?

FRANCIS: They really do. And this is — I'm sorry, this is really emotional.

This is the hardest thing I've ever been through. They have taken away my life. I always thought that if you are a good person and you didn't commit a crime, you don't go to jail.

I did know that they could do this to someone who hasn't committed a crime. And these people have been great to me here. I admit, it is still jail. I am still locked in a cage like an animal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Content and Programming Copyright 2007 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.