'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Faces Significant Tax Trial

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'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Faces Significant Tax Trial

Tue Jul 22, 2008 @ 11:26AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Francisjoe The trouble doesn't stop for 'Girls Gone Wild' impresario Joe Francis. He's out of jail but earlier this week he was sued in yet another exploitation civil lawsuit. And that's the least of his problems.

Yesterday, he appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to answer charges that he he deducted more than $20 million in phony business expenses on his corporate returns during 2002 and 2003. Francis plead not guilty to the felony tax evasion charges.

Francis is being represented by the right kind of lawyer. Robert Bernhoft got Wesley Snipes off big-time earlier in the year. "This ain't 'Girls Gone Wild.' This is the IRS gone wild," says Bernhoft.

Not a bad line. The trial is set for September 16.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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