The US actor, Wesley Snipes, best known for his role in Blade, has been handed a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion. Snipes was originally convicted in February 2008 but had been on bail since then. He was charged with three counts of failing to file his federal income tax returns for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001. During this time he had earned more than $37m – £24m – on gross income.
The trial was held in Florida, but as Snipes resides in New York, his lawyers appealed against the sentence and requested a new trial to be undertaken there. An appeals court upheld the conviction of tax evasion in July. The legal team then received emails from two of the jurors alleging that 3 other jurors had told them that they had already decided to convict Snipes before the trial had even begun. Snipes’ lawyers then claimed “jury misconduct” and demanded a retrial. However, a federal judge has ruled against this, stating that jurors were forbidden to testify “about any matter that occurred during deliberations except for extraneous prejudicial information, outside influence, or a mistake in entering the verdict onto the verdict form.”
The judge has ordered for Snipes to begin his sentence.