Action movie star Wesley Snipes was convicted of tax fraud in 2008 for failing to file tax returns. Now Snipes is alleging that some of the jurors at his trial were convinced of his guilt before they heard or saw any of the evidence.
In order for Snipes to avoid going to prison, he will have to convince a judge that he should be granted a new trial on the grounds of jury misconduct. Another tack would be to claim that there was “tainted” testimony at the trial by Snipes’ form investment adviser.
After a two hour hearing on Snipes’ arguments, the judge gave no timetable for a decision, saying only that he would decide promptly.
Snipes made the same arguments to a federal appeals court earlier this year, but they were not convinced..
Now, though, Snipes’ has produced two unsolicited e-mails he received from jurors, each claiming that three other members of the jury panel revealed during deliberations that they were convinced of the actor’s guilt before the first witness testified. The jurors’ names have been withheld from the public.
Snipes did not appear in court. He has been out on bail since his conviction. If his appeals fail, he will have to report to prison for a thirty-six month sentence.
If the judge in this matter rules against Snipes, he could appeal the decision to the court of appeals, and he would have until December 28th to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to revoke Snipes’ bail. If the judge agrees, Snipes may have to await the results of his appeals while behind bars.
At one time, Snipes got tax advice from Eddie Ray Kahn, who was sentenced to ten years as a co-defendant in Snipes’ case. Kahn told Snipes that he had no legal obligation to pay federal income tax.
Source: Orlando Sentinel “Wesley Snipes fights prison sentence for tax crimes” 11/15/2010