The Girls Gone Wild purveyor's legal team has revealed the crux of their defense strategy for his long-pending tax evasion trial in court documents obtained by the Smoking Gun this week: By the looks of it, Francis is hoping to be judged by the A-list company he keeps, and not much else.
In slides filed with the court as part of his opening statement, Francis is looking to align his business with stars like Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Orlando Bloom, Jack Nicholson and even a Kardashian or two, claiming the investments—or, as prosecutors refer to them, phony business expenses—he put into his various companies were all part and parcel with servicing his star clientele and business pursuits.
Or, as his defense rather succinctly put it, "Mr. Francis in Business of Sex."
That clears that up, then.
Francis has pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony tax evasion allegedly carried out during the 2002 and 2003 fiscal years. If convicted, he faces a maximum 10-year prison term when his trial kicks off
In the series of five slides filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in advance of his trial, Francis' defense listed Bloom, Vaughn, Kim Kardashian and Aniston (actually, they listed "Anniston," but you get the point) as regular guests of his Mexican retreat in Punta Vista, setting up the potential argument that tax deductions taken from the property were warranted business expenses.
The other slides seek to give jurors a better understanding of the Girls Gone Wild brand, helpfully noting that "Mr. Francis IS Girls Gone Wild," and its follow-up declaration, "Girls Gone Wild is Successful."
He also links his soft-core franchise to that of Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire, and calls out various aspects of his tax deduction-friendly lifestyle that lend themselves to building his brand.
"Celebrity status" is one, illustrated by a photo of Francis with Nicholson, as well as "Sporting Events," which is demonstrated by a photo of Francis sitting courtside with Mario Lopez.
Though if that's the defense, let's hope his legal team isn't resting quite yet.
Francis' fate hasn't been decided yet. In the meantime, check out which stars wound up on the wrong side of the law in our Guilty Gallery!