Wesley Snipes retrial rejected; ‘the time has come’ for prison, judge says

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Actor Wesley Snipes was informed Friday that it’s time for him to report for prison and get started on his 36-month federal sentence for tax-related misdemeanors.

“The time has come for the judgment to be enforced,” a Florida judge said in rejecting the actor’s request for a new trial, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes had had a fair trial, a fair review of his conviction and sentence, and a fair review of the current request.

Snipes was convicted in 2008 on three misdemeanor counts related to his failure to file tax returns, and handed the maximum sentence possible because of the dollar amounts involved (read the sentencing memo for the details). He’s been free on $1-million bail.

The “Blade” star was not in court Monday when his attorneys filed the motion for a new trial in light of the recent conviction of a key witness on unrelated charges.


Co-defendents Eddie Kahn and Douglas Rosile, the men who told Snipes he didn’t have to file tax returns from 1999 through 2005 and helped him file false refund claims for millions of dollars, were convicted in 2008 of felony tax fraud and conspiracy. Snipes was acquitted on those charges and popped only for failure to file returns. During that six-year period, Snipes earned $35 million and paid no income tax. Kahn was sentence to 10 years, while Rosile got 54 months.

Financial adviser Kenneth I. Starr, who had worked with the likes of Snipes, Martin Scorsese and Sylvester Stallone and was a key witness in the 2008 trial, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and investment adviser fraud in September.

Snipes’ most recent film, “Game of Death,” is set for Nov. 27 release in Japan.


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-- Christie D’Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.