VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Hollywood actor Randy Quaid is a step closer to being allowed to live in Canada, after fleeing from what he said was a conspiracy of "star whackers" who were out to get him, his attorneys said on Wednesday.
Canadian border officials have ended their efforts to send him back to the United States where he is facing criminal vandalism charges in a property dispute, the attorneys said.
Quaid's wife Evi was granted Canadian citizenship this month because her father was born in Canada, and she is now allowed to sponsor her husband to remain in the country as a permanent resident, lawyer Catherine Sas said.
A final decision on his residency request will be made by Canadian immigration authorities, but he can remain in the country while that happens.
Quaid, who appeared in films such as "Brokeback Mountain", "Independence Day" and National Lampoon's "Vacation" movies, thanked Canada for giving the couple a "the opportunity to live in peace."
The Quaids arrived in Vancouver in October, and filed for refugee status after they were arrested by Canadian police on a warrant from California.
The couple said they feared for their lives and needed to escape a mysterious group of "Hollywood star whackers" who they alleged were killing celebrities for their money.
"When Evi and I came to Canada in October last year, we could never have envisioned how things would unfold or how our lives would change," Quaid said in a statement.
Sas said the couple "looked forward to resolving all legal matters in the United States in the same positive matter."
The attorneys said that Canadian authorities have concluded the U.S. evidence was not strong enough to extradite Quaid from Canada, adding that should help his court case in California.
Quaid, the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid, has said he plans to do acting work in Vancouver, which has a large movie and television production industry.
Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson