Randy Quaid insists he is not crazy, it's just that a "murderous ring" of accountants and others are out to kill, first his career, then him, as part of a celebrity-by-celebrity rampage through Hollywood.
The cabal, he suggested, is after $40-million he says he has earned over a career that has included parts in such films as Independence Day, Midnight Express, Days of Thunder and Brokeback Mountain.
"I am being embezzled from by this monstrous ring of accountants and estate planners and lawyers, who are mercilessly slandering me and trying to kill my career and, I believe, murder me in order to gain control of my royalties," the Oscar-nominated actor told reporters Thursday during a news conference in the lobby of a downtown skyscraper.
Mr. Quaid, who is seeking refugee status in Canada, laid out his allegations reading from a prepared statement after his hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board was put over to Nov. 8.
A bespectacled Mr. Quaid, dapper in a blue suit under an elegant overcoat, was forthright, genial and occasionally emotional as he spoke to a crowd of reporters, public servants and bystanders dumbfounded at the familiar actor in their presence.
At one point, after giving the floor to his lawyer Catherine Sas to answer questions from the media, a reporter asked her, "Do you understand how paranoid and delusional your client sounds?"
Ms. Sas declined comment as an impassive Mr. Quaid stood silent beside her.
Ms. Sas took the case this week, replacing another Vancouver lawyer who handled Mr. Quaid and his wife Evi's first appearance before the refugee board.
"For the past 20 years, my wife Evi and I have been the victims of criminal activities perpetrated by a small network of individuals who are out to destroy us personally, professionally and financially," Mr. Quaid said.
"This network of individuals is manipulating the banking system and the criminal justice system for the purposes of sabotaging our credit and our credibility."
He continued to stand by his claim that such actors as Heath Ledger, Chris Penn and David Carradine were "whacked" and said Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson are being targeted for their money.
"We believe there to be a malignant tumour of star whackers in Hollywood," he said, echoing a handwritten sign he and his wife had their previous lawyer display to the media last week after a refugee-board hearing convened when the couple were arrested in Vancouver on outstanding warrants in California.
Mr. Quaid denied any and all criminal allegations against him and his 47-year-old wife, who has been deemed a "de facto Canadian" by the Canada Border Services Agency because of her father's Canadian roots.
"To be clear, we did not defraud an innkeeper and we did not trespass on our own property. Up until a year ago, Evi and I had never had any run in with the law whatsoever. We are not criminals, nor are we fugitives from justice, nor are we crazy.
"We are simply artists and filmmakers who are being racketeered on."
Ms. Quaid was not present Thursday because she was taking care of the couple's dog.
Mr. Quaid said he hopes to find work in Canadian productions. "I would like to announce my availability and desire to do so immediately, legally of course."
The Quaids spent seven days in custody following their arrest in Vancouver on Oct. 21, and Mr. Quaid is now free on $10,000 bond and various reporting conditions.
The couple have been dogged by legal troubles for skipping a court date over issues involving their former Santa Barbara home, and also have faced charges for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper in Montecito, Calif.
Ms. Sas said she was considering all options related to the fate of Mr. Quaid, including work permits, permanent residence status, and that they might even abandon the refugee process although no final decisions have been made.
"I am optimistic about Mr. Quaid's chances in Canada, whether as a refugee or otherwise."