Please, Lord, Let Joe Francis Represent Himself at Trial

LTB default 777x437

If I remember correctly, Joe Francis, the "brains" behind "Girls Gone Wild" and sleazemaster extraordinaire, has been mentioned here before. <Google search>

Only six times? Seems like it was more than that. <another search>

Okay, I guess he's been mentioned here kind of a lot.

But let's make it an even 10 times, because On Point News reports that the lawsuit filed back in 2007 (see first entry above) by four women who were minors at the time our hero got them on film is about to go to trial. If, that is, Francis doesn't lose by default.

According to the report, Francis has had trouble getting lawyers to represent him, or at least to continue representing him given his various stupid antics (see, e.g., "Defendant Gone Wild," supra) and alleged tendency to not pay legal bills. On March 16, the judge entered a default against Francis's corporate entities because he had not retained counsel for them. An individual default is apparently looming unless Francis can explain why he didn't personally show up for the pretrial conference the day before.

True to form, Francis has told the court it was somebody else's fault.

He claims, first, that he didn't know his former counsel had withdrawn from the case until mid-February, a month after the court granted the motion to withdraw. (This is extremely unlikely.) Since learning this, he says, "I have been earnestly searching for and attempting to retain new counsel." (Have you tried calling the guys who advertise on late-night TV? They might lower their standards to take you.) He also blames his former counsel for not turning over the case file (which I don't think he has to do if Francis hasn't paid his bill [update: other states require this but not Florida, where this is pending]. As plaintiffs' counsel has noted, none of this explains why he personally didn't show up for pretrial, which is what he was supposed to be explaining.

But I'm still going to suggest – okay, beg – that a default not be granted against Francis, because of Paragraph 7 in his declaration:

I fully expect to secure new counsel prior to the jury trial in this action, currently scheduled for March 28, 2011. However, in the event I cannot retain new counsel … I am fully prepared to proceed pro se.

If he actually does represent himself at trial, I might have to take a sabbatical to cover it because it could be a Sheen-rivaling spectacle.