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Posts Tagged ‘Wesley Snipes’

E! Online Writer Has Big Plans

As senior writer for E! Online, Josh Grossberg (pictured) cranks out a wide range of celebrity news items. This week for example, topics have included the will and testament of Ronni Chasen, the imminent prison time of Wesley Snipes and the DUI arrest of David Cassidy.

But Grossberg still finds time for sideline projects. On the heels of his 2009 documentary A Bridge Life, about the victims of Hurricane Katrina herded to the Houston Astrodome, he tells the Broward New Times that he has just finished writing his first Broadway musical, is in conversations with NBC about a “huge” reality TV series and is expanding his 2010 Cannes Film Festival short Betrayed into a feature titled Disappear.

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A Few Sundance Titles Might Include…

sundancepic2.jpgSundance Film Festival is still almost two months away, but already the blogging universe is making its predictions about the line-up.

Who knows where they got their info, but regardless, a few possibilities include:

“Paper Hearts” – First up is a film that almost no one has heard about until now. The feature filmmaking debut of Nicholas Jasenovec, the film is an unconventional comedy which is being described as “part-documentary, part-scripted comedy” about Michael Cera’s real-life relationship with Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”). Not much else is known about the film, but indie insiders are already predicting that it will be this year’s Sundance break out hit ala “Napoleon Dynamite.”

An Education – “Italian For Beginners” director Lone Scherfig‘ helms the first screenplay by About a Boy/High Fidelity novelist Nick Hornby. Adapted from a memoir by Lynn Barber, published in literary magazine Granta, the film tells a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, who has her life turned inside out after she meets a 35-year-old sportscar-driving Brit. The film stars Emma Thompson, Rosamund Pike, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams and Sally Hawkins.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” – Training Day director Antoine Fuqua‘s cop tale about three unconnected Brooklyn cops who wind up at the same deadly location after enduring vastly different career paths. The film stars Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/Wesley-Snipes-profile.html”>Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin, Jesse Williams and Lili Taylor.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” – Adapted from Steve McVicker’s 2003 novel, and based on a true story. Steve Carrey plays Russell, a criminal who falls in love with his cell mate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). After Morris’ release from prison, Russell attempts a variety of bizarre prison escapes in hopes of reuniting with the love of his life. The movie was apparently pitched as “Catch Me if You Can meets Brokeback Mountain”. The screenplay was written by the team who did “Bad Santa.”

Joe Francis: Tort Gone Wild

19francis.2.190.jpgGirls Gone Wild founder/sleaze monkey Joe Francis and his attorneys at Bernhoft Law have breathlessly declared “war” … on the law.

Francis says he was tricked into doing things he didn’t really want to do and now feels embarrassed, exposed and vulnerable (pay back’s a bitch, ain’t it?).

At a press conference in L.A. today Francis and his attorneys announced multiple law suits he’s filing/has filed: First, he is suing his former accountant, Michael Barrett for “setting him up,” as the New York Times reports:

Mr. Francis says that his internal accountant set him up, filing the 2002 and 2003 tax returns in question for Mantra Films and then blowing the whistle to the I.R.S. with the goal of reaping a bounty for turning in a tax cheat. On July 25, Mr. Francis filed a civil suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the accountant, Michael Barrett.

Francis is also suing the cops and other officials involved in his arrest and prosecution for child abuse in 2003.

Ross Johnson of L.A. Strategic (pictured over Francis’ shoulder here) alerted us to Joe’s Declaration of War — in the form of a press release:

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Girls Gone Wild’s Joe Francis is Outraged

joe_frffancis_300.jpgBernhoft Law attorneys will make a statement this morning after Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is arraigned in his felony tax evasion case. Robert Bernhoft, the law firm’s press release reminds us, “previously obtained acquittals on all felony counts for former IRS investigator Joe Bannister (a trial memorialized in Pulitzer Prize-winning David Cay Johnston‘s Perfectly Legal).

Though you’ll have to wait for mid-morning to get the live statement, you can enjoy the written statements here … particularly our favorite:

“The truth will reveal that the case against Francis is ‘about an accountant who thinks he should be rewarded for his own mistakes, mistakes that will cost Joe millions of dollars. The IRS says the accountant should get millions and Joe prison for mistakes the accountant made and never told Joe he made. That’s outrageous.’”

Riiight. Of all the issues about, of and relating to Joe Francis, that’s the thing that’s outrageous.

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FBLA Exclusive: How Wesley Snipes Won /Legal Wizards Tell All

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On February 1, Wesley Snipes was acquitted of felony conspiracy and tax fraud after a two week federal trial in Ocala, Florida. Snipes was found guilty of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file a tax return. FBLA caught up with Snipes’ lead trial attorney Robert Bernhoft, the Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who’s moving on up to L.A.

FBLA: So you’re a Milwaukee lawyer who got a big victory for a celebrity client and now you’re opening an office in Malibu. Do you surf, or do you just really hate Milwaukee winters?

Bernhoft: I really just hate Milwaukee winters (it’s subzero there right now, and I’m relaxing at the Fairmont Miramar Bungalows…life could be worse). Laird Hamilton’s daughter has promised to teach me how to surf, though.

FBLA: You called Ocala, Florida, the venue where Wesley was tried, a “hotbed of Klan activity” in pre-trial motions. Do men still ride around with white sheets over their heads there, or was that just a product of a lawyer’s imagination?

Bernhoft There’s a lot of so-called “White Power” events there, put on by National Vanguard and StormFront, and Ocala does happen to be the North American headquarters of the KKK. And according to the Anti-Defamation League, Ocala is the per-capita capital of race-hatred incidents and events.

FBLA: David Cay Johnston, the Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter for the New York Times, had a meltdown when he got into your face at the press conference you had to discuss the jury verdicts. What was going through your mind when Johnston was running off at the mouth?

Bernhoft: “He’s off his meds.”

FBLA: The defense rested its case without calling any witnesses for Wesley. Is that because the government had not met its burden of proof on the felony conspiracy and fraud counts, or is it because nobody in Hollywood wanted to travel to Ocala and testify for Wesley?

Bernhoft: I’m sure that Ocala is not a destination of choice for most Hollywood celebrities other than John Travolta, but the fact is, a lot of Wesley’s friends and colleagues were ready, willing, and able to testify for him there. But when you’ve got the government beat without calling a single witness, you don’t waste the jury’s time with a Hollywood-style intermission.

FBLA: For two weeks before the verdict Wesley’s press rep at Sitrick and Co. (Ross Johnson) passed out your statement that Wesley would walk on the felony counts. He did indeed walk on the felony counts. Was it dumb luck, did Sitrick rig the jury, or are you a brilliant lawyer?

Bernhoft: I’m a brilliant lawyer.

FBLA: It was reported that spectators were crying during defense closing arguments. What did you say during the argument that would cause someone to bawl at a tax trial?

Bernhoft: We talked about how the Liberty Bell might have been cracked in Philadelphia, but could still be heard in Ocala. Some people still care about those old-fashioned rights — like being able to ask your government questions without being rewarded with a federal criminal indictment. And they should…it’s important stuff, particularly in this new American age of domestic security at any price.

FBLA: Besides facing a civil tax trial where the government is going to want Wesley to pay $30 million in back taxes and penalties, Wesley has lawsuits going with New Line Cinema and United Talent Agency. Does Wesley just like to fight with people, or is this all a big misunderstanding?

Bernhoft: Throughout his career, Wesley has stood up for himself and others against an entrenched power structure, and he’s been targeted for that. These attacks have been going on for some time, like the “forcible DNA extraction arrest warrant” issued from the New York Family Court at the instigation of prosecuting attorneys from LaPorte County, Indiana. Some of this stuff is absolutely surreal, even in a surreal world, and you have to step back and ask yourself, “What’s going on here?”

Wesley was vindicated in that matter, of course, but not without fighting against these powerful government entities in the federal courts for several years. As a wise person once said: “You only have the rights you’re willing to fight to defend.” Wesley’s had to fight to protect and defend his. (By the way, even the government’s latest tax numbers are between 10-12 million).

FBLA: You’ve done a lot of big cases where tax protesters have been acquitted. Is it a good idea not to file a tax return?

Bernhoft No, it’s not a good idea not to file a tax return, because the IRS doesn’t like that, and they’ll come hunting for you, both civilly and criminally. American tax policy is no longer a legal question, it’s a political one, and thoughtful Americans who don’t like the current Tax Police State regime should go political, and quickly, if they wish to create change.

FBLA: If Wesley Snipes and Willie Nelson opened an accounting firm, who would get the best celebrity clients?

Bernhoft: No disrespect to the legendary Willie Nelson, but hands down Wesley would attract the most interesting celebrity clients. Wesley’s a fascinating man, cultured and engaging, and he’s a magnet for creative, interesting, eclectic personalities.

FBLA: When you go to trial on a big case, do you have any rituals?

Bernhoft: Each individual trial team member has their own unique rituals, usually involving prayer to particular deities. Rumors of animal sacrifice, however, are greatly exaggerated.

Sundown on Sunset: Comings and Goings

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Several job openings in the George Lucas empire. Jim Ward, the head of LucasArts, has left. And LucasFilm is looking for a PR type.

Ray Richmond comes not to praise Ms. Spears but to B.E.R.I. her.

Wesley Snipes is found guilty and could get three years.

Happy Birthday, Andrew Breitbart.

Goodbye, Alissa Walker.

Wesley Snipes: MySpace But No Blog

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Wesley Snipes has a MySpace page and 1182 friends. But no blog. You’d think Sitrick & Co. would hire an out-of-work writer to craft some blog posts for their client.

Fun fact: Mr. S loves music and has albums of show tunes in his record collection.

Wesley Snipes Appealing Judgment in UTA Case

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Sitrick and Co. issued a statement on behalf of Wesley Snipes:

A spokesman for Wesley Snipes said today that he will appeal the $1.7 million default judgment that was entered in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, against Mr. Snipes for the alleged breach of an oral contract between Mr. Snipes and his former talent representative, United Talent Agency, Inc. The judgment was reported in the media that day.

Mr. Snipes’ representatives said the default judgment was entered without Mr. Snipes’ knowledge as UTA did not provide legal notice to Mr. Snipes or his known legal representatives.

Mr. Snipes’ representatives added that Mr. Snipes intends to vigorously contest this matter on its merits once the improperly taken default judgment is set aside.

“Mr. Snipes has and will continue to honor valid contractual responsibilities,” the spokesman said. “Consistent with that commitment, Mr. Snipes had been in discussions with UTA about the underlying dispute and was shocked to learn that UTA abruptly abandoned discussions and chose to take legal action.”

Does this mean Snipes won’t get the UTA job list ever again?