Fired Wesley Snipes Lawyers Have Big Hollywood Hopes

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Fired Wesley Snipes Lawyers Have Big Hollywood Hopes

Sun Oct 19, 2008 @ 10:59PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Wesleysnipes061207Ever heard of Robert Bernhoft or Robert Barnes? Neither have we. But they just might be the next Hollywood power lawyers, according to Portfolio magazine. Bernhoft and Barnes got Wesley Snipes acquitted on the major charges in the actor's tax evasion case, and now they've opened up shop in Malibu for all the industry's legal needs.

"The Bobs" were actually fired by Snipes, apparently for advising him to make a good-faith offer to defray his tax debt, according to Portfolio writer Amy Wallace. Snipes either didn't like the advise or, as Bernhoft and Barnes claim, they didn't want to be held responsible for Snipes' maximum prison term sentence on the misdemeanor counts.

Whatever the story, the tax litigators now have their sights set on Hollywood. The magazine reports that the two have opened up a Malibu office, have placed ads in the LA Times and Malibu magazine, and have even signed up Girls Gone Wild impresario Joe Francis as a client.

“As soon as I came out here, I knew L.A. was a natural home for what we do,” Barnes tells Wallace. “We are legal mercenaries. What we have is a creative, independent, professional, eclectic, antisystem, antitraditional approach to life, philosophy, and the law. We have personalities that are predisposed to being outsiders. And that makes sense here.”

Um, yeah. Something tells us the entertainment law community isn't exactly putting these guys on their lunch schedules just yet. 

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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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