The U.S. Marshal’s Office in Panama City tells that Francis, 34, was arrested at 6:30 a.m. at the Panama City airport on a warrant seeking his arrest for criminal contempt of court. He is currently being held at the Bay County jail, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal’s Office says.
Although Francis told Geraldo Rivera on Monday that he would surrender to authorities, the arrest was carried out by airport police who recognized him before he could present himself to the Marshal’s Office.
A judge order his arrest last week after Francis reportedly changed the terms of a settlement deal stemming from a 2003 lawsuit in which seven women accused him of victimizing them by filming them in sexual situations while they were on spring break in Panama City.
Francis was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak to surrender to authorities in Panama City by noon Thursday to begin serving jail time for contempt of court. However, Joe Francis missed the deadline.