DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Stupid, Crime

Aniston For The Defense?

With trial looming, "Girls Gone Wild" boss goes Hollywood

Joe Francis

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Jennifer Aniston For The Defense?

AUGUST 25--Facing an upcoming criminal trial, the founder of "Girls Gone Wild" will attempt to use some Hollywood star power during his defense against tax evasion charges that could result in a maximum 10-year prison term.

As part of Joseph Francis's opening statement in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, his defense team will show a series of slides (or "opening statement demonstratives") that link the "Girls Gone Wild" boss and his firm to movie stars like Jennifer Aniston, Jack Nicholson, Vince Vaughn, and Orlando Bloom. A copy of the slide presentation was filed last week in federal court by Francis's defense team.

Prosecutors allege that Francis, whose trial is set to open in mid-October, illegally sought to conceal income in offshore companies and deducted millions in phony business expenses, including costs incurred at Casa Aramara, Francis's beachfront Mexican home.

One defense slide, seen here, includes photos of Aniston (whose surname is misspelled), Bloom, and Vaughn, who are described as "celebrity guests" at the Punta Mita property. It appears that Francis, 36, will argue that the estate was an investment property frequently leased to wealthy tenants and, as such, certain business tax deductions were warranted.

Another slide will helpfully inform jurors that Francis is "in Business of Sex," while another provides a "Marketing 101" overlook at the "Girls Gone Wild" soft-core franchise. The defense slide show will also attempt to draw parallels between Francis's business and Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire. In a "Girls Gone Wild Brand" slide, Francis is seen posing with Nicholson, who represents "Celebrity Status." A second photo shows Francis seated with actor Mario Lopez at a basketball game (illustrating "Sporting Events"). The "Playboy Brand" slide includes six photos of Hefner, who is pictured with actor Jamie Foxx in one image. (5 pages)