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    Joe Francis' Booby Prize? No Jail!

    UPDATE NO. 2: On Nov. 6, 2009, a judge approved the plea deal, sentencing Joe Francis to one year of probation and time already served.

    In addition to the $249,705 in restitution, the Girls Gone Wild purveyor also paid a $10,000 fine.

    "I feel badly for people who don't have my resources or stamina to defend themselves against these kinds of false charges," Francis said. "I lost a year of my life, and I felt it was my responsibility to send a message to the government that they could not prevail in a prosecution where they completely ignore the facts."

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    UPDATE: Francis pleaded guilty this afternoon to two counts of filing false tax returns and one count of bribing Nevada jail workers to bring him food.

    He must pay $249,705 in restitution but will receive credit for the 301 days he spent in lockup—meaning, no more slammer time for Francis, who had been facing a possible 10 years in prison if the case had gone to trial.

    In court, Francis told the judge he will "try to be good and stay out of the clubs." He is also allowed to travel outside the U.S.

    He'll be officially let off the hook sentenced on Nov. 6.

    In thanking his lawyers following today's hearing, Francis said in a statement: "The one thing I've learned about myself during this process is that I can be a difficult client, but they are a fantastic group of brilliant legal minds who recognized the truth when they saw it and had the passion to care about what happened to me. "

    ________

    Joe Francis is still waiting to learn whether he's going to face any charges in that bar brawl with Brody Jenner. But he got some good news elsewhere: He's not going to prison on federal tax-dodging charges.

    The Girls Gone Wild mastermind has agreed to cop a plea to filing false IRS returns to end the tax fraud case that had been hounding him for the past two years and landed him in jail for nearly a year.

    The 36-year-old Francis will make things official when he appears in Los Angeles federal court at 2 p.m., E! News has learned.

    He'll plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion and one count of bribing Nevada jailhouse officials with $5,000 worth of goods in a bid to get food. In return, Francis will receive credit for 301 days served in a Nevada slammer and must pay $250,000 in restitution.

    Not bad for a guy who was originally charged with owing $20 million and faced up to 10 years in federal prison.

    (Originally published Sept. 23, 2009, at 12:10 p.m. PT)

    —Additional reporting by Aly Weisman

    ________

    Get the skinny on Francis' late-night throwdown with Jenner and Jayde Nicole here.

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