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Anti-Tax Ninja Snipes Stands Trial

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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As jury selection got underway in Wesley Snipes' tax evasion trial Monday, it quickly became clear that this would not be your run of the mill, millionaire movie star joins anti-tax movement and bizarre black nationalist cult then defrauds the IRS trial. No, this trial, in which character witnesses including Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Sylvester Stallone, Muhammad Ali, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, and Gus Van Sant may be called, is bound to be a doozy.

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If you're no anti-taxer yourself, you're likely not up on the case. A quick summary: In the six years between 1999 and 2005, Snipes earned $37.9 million—think Blade II, Blade Trinity, and an episode of The Bernie Mac Show—and paid no taxes on it. The federal government didn't take too kindly to this and charged the black man who can jump with tax fraud and conspiracy. Snipes contends that according to a rarely used interpretation of the tax code, he doesn't owe anything. Obviously, the tax man disagrees and would like Snipes to spend 16 years in jail thinking about what he's done.

As for his acting career, Snipes seems to have cornered the straight-to-video action-flick market with five in the past three years. But at least he's seeing 100 percent of whatever checks he does manage to pull in.


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