Joe Francis: 'The Only Criminals Are Those Persecuting Me'

"He is culpable because you can't escape culpability by telling a cameraman, 'I want you to do this,'" said Meadows. "And you go in there with these young girls and you film these types of activity. And I'm gonna stand right outside the door here. And we'll talk and converse and if an issue comes up, speak to me. But this is what I want you to do. That's two or more individuals combining to complete a plan of criminal conduct -- the very basis of the conspiracy for what he is charged."

Since his disastrous trip to Panama City, Francis' companies have been hit with a series of lawsuits. In July 2004 he paid $1.1 million to settle charges of unauthorized shipping and billing. And in April of this year he was indicted on two separate counts of tax evasion by a federal grand jury. That's how he got from jail in Panama City to federal lockdown in Reno, Nevada. Francis says he is innocent of these charges as well, and that he doesn't have a problem obeying the law.

"Here's where I have a problem," he said. "I have a problem being an easy target. I have a problem with being a likeable person, that lawyers think 'I'll get this guy in front of a jury and people will be jealous of him.' There doesn't have to be an underlying offense or crime."

'They Are Out to Get You'

Has he become paranoid?

"The funny thing is, like, I never used to be that person and my lawyers had to sit me down and say, 'You know what Joe, be paranoid because they are out to get you.'"

Francis only remains in Reno because he has refused to pay bail, because once he is released there, he will be remanded back into the custody of the Panama City authorities.

"I'd go back to Panama City where they are out to get me," he said. "And that's not paranoid."

"Do I want to see him stand to what he did in my community? Yes sir, I do," said Sullivan. "And if he's guilty, do I want to see him punished? Yes sir, I do. The only time I would welcome Joe Francis into my community would be to see him go to trial. And subsequently go to jail."

"I have the same view of Mr. Francis as any other criminal defendant," said Meadows, saying that he would wait "as long as it takes."

When asked if he had anything to say to Sullivan or Meadows, Francis said, "That's a very, very good question. But I would say they're not going to get away with it. He knows what he's doing is wrong. He knows they'll never hold up. But I believe that he should watch his actions very closely. And the only people who are criminals here are those that are persecuting me."

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