Lawyers for “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis want ABC’s “Nightline” reporter Martin Bashir to tell what he knows to a judge about whether State Attorney Steve Meadows showed him child pornography during an interview.
A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8 to address a motion from Miami attorney Roy Black seeking dismissal of the 2003 criminal charges against Francis, or the case moved out of Panama City, because Meadows reportedly violated state law and legal ethics by showing Bashir a tape of the “shower scene” that is at the center of the case against Francis.
Bashir interviewed Meadows for a story that aired in November. During the story, Bashir and Meadows are shown in Meadows’ office reportedly watching a video of two 17-year-old girls in a sexual situation in a Panama City Beach motel shower.
The video was shot by a “Girls Gone Wild” cameraman with Francis in an adjoining room. Black said in a motion the girls lied about their ages, claiming they were 18, and neither Francis nor the cameraman knew the girls were underage. Meadows, however, knew the girls were minors and showed Bashir what Meadows has classified as child pornography without any legal standing and in violation of state law, Black said.
Meadows has not publicly addressed the allegation and has until the end of business Monday to comply with a judge’s order to respond to the motion in writing.
In a recent motion, Black asked Circuit Judge Dedee Costello to compel Bashir’s testimony through the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without a State in Criminal Proceedings, because a Florida subpoena carries no weight outside the state. Bashir lives in New York.
“Martin Bashir is an eyewitness to the illegal conduct alleged,” Black wrote. “Specifically, Mr. Bashir was the person to whom Mr. Meadows illegally presented videotape of alleged child pornography. His testimony is necessary and material to prove the character and content of the videotape he viewed, that what he saw was child pornography, that he viewed it absent this court’s authorization or pursuant to any other legal right or authorization.”
Francis, 34, is charged with two counts each of using and conspiring to use minors in a sexual performance. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted as charged.
Black said validation of the allegations against Meadows could result in the charges being dismissed.