UPDATE (Feb. 10, 2009 at 8:05 p.m. PT): We reported Feb. 3 that Joe Francis stated he "does not have to wear any tracking device." In fact, Francis says he was not wearing one at the time he spoke to E! News. Francis' lawyer explains that Francis was on his way to get fitted for the monitoring device at the time of that interview.
If Joe Francis wants more bed rest, he can have it.
A day after being taken into federal custody for showing up five hours late to court, the Girls Gone Wild entrepreneur was put under house arrest until at least Feb. 11, the date of the next hearing pertaining to his tax-evasion case.
Francis, who arrived in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles yesterday at about 1:30 p.m. and was subsequently arrested, has attributed his tardiness to a bad case of the flu and his arrest to a big misunderstanding.
"I was sick with the flu yesterday, and I showed up a few hours late to court," he told E! News Tuesday. "I turned myself in, and they held me overnight and released me today. I have a note from the doctor, and everything is worked out."
And though U.S. District Judge S. James Otero stipulated that Francis be electronically monitored over the next week, the X-rated-video baron claims he does not have to wear any tracking device.
A rep for Francis said that he fell ill over the weekend and, per doctor's orders, stayed in bed Monday rather than wake up for an 8:30 a.m. court appearance.
"The doctor provided Francis with a signed letter explaining his treatment and the strict orders for bed rest," the rep said. Francis called the pretrial officer to explain, she said, but the court official apparently didn't get the message in time.
The doctor's note will come in handy, considering Francis is facing further jail time if he doesn't return to court Feb. 11 without legitimate proof that he was too sick to show up Monday.
Yesterday's hearing centered on his defense attorney's motion to withdraw his firm as counsel on the tax-evasion charges. Otero is waiting to grant the motion until Francis finds a new legal team.
Prosecutor Caryn D. Marc, for one, didn't think much of Francis' excuse, telling the court today she felt he was using this illness and his lawyer issues to prolong the inevitable.
"At this point, I think Mr. Francis is using the legitimate law firms to delay, using these attorneys as a front," she told Otero. "He was well enough to call TMZ and let them know why he wasn't in court yesterday."