Law Firms

'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Apparently Finds New Counsel, Finally

Two law firms have declined to represent Joe Francis, the founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and another wants to withdraw.

But Francis has apparently found some lawyers willing to represent him in his federal tax evasion case, the Daily Journal reports. At a court hearing in Los Angeles on Tuesday, lawyer Janet Levine of Crowell & Moring said Francis intends to hire the law firm. Two lawyers from the Law Offices of Mark J. Werksman also appeared in court for the video king, but didn’t go so far as to say they were representing Francis.

Two other law firms—Jones Day and Munger, Tolles & Olson—declined to take on the case after initially expressing interest, the story says.

Francis is currently represented by the Milwaukee-based Bernhoft Law Firm, but it is seeking to withdraw. It filed court papers last week that said it had an “irreconcilable conflict” with Francis that was “reposed within the attorney-client privilege,” the American Lawyer reports.

Name partner Robert Barnes filed a declaration noting a threat of litigation by Francis against the firm and and a deteriorating relationship. After the firm notified Francis of its plans to withdraw, Barnes wrote, Francis fired off an e-mail that apparently refers to the firm’s plans to expand into the Los Angeles market. Barnes quotes its contents as follows: “As for a practice in LA. It is highly unlikely if you piss me off. I KNOW EVERYONE AND THEY WILL DO WHAT I SAY!”

Francis was arrested on Monday when he showed up late for a hearing in the case, but was later released to home detention, report Reuters and the Associated Press.

A press release said Francis was late because he was “extremely ill” with the flu and identifies Mark Werksman as Francis’ lawyer.

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