EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Convicted Tax Evader Wesley Snipes Is Like a Bernie Madoff Victim, Claims His Attorney

Nov. 21 2009, Published 10:50 a.m. ET

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Poor Wesley Snipes.  A lawyer representing the convicted tax evader on his appeal has likened the Blade star to a “Bernie Madoff victim.”

Jessica Biel costarred with Snipes in Blade: Trinity

Attorney Daniel Meachum was in the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta Friday, fighting to keep Snipes out of prison.  He was been given a three-year sentence but is out on bond pending his appeal. The Internal Revenue Service claimed that Snipes made $13.8 million for the period in question of 1999 and 2001, and owed $2.7 million in taxes that he refused to pay.

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Wesley Snipes Doesn’t Believe He Owes Taxes

Meachum told exclusively:  “As far as I am concerned he is as much a victim as the people that Bernie Madoff took money from. Wesley picked the wrong lawyers and accountants to represent him and he paid a heavy price.” Madoff’s victims included married actors Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon.

Meachum’s argument Friday was that Snipes should have been granted a hearing to decide whether his trial should have been in New York and not Florida. The three judge panel listened to the evidence but did not make any immediate ruling in court today allowing Snipes to remain a free. It may be three months before the decision is handed down.

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Meachum added: “We have made a good appeal and believe there was no criminal intent from Wesley Snipes to evade paying his taxes. Contrary to popular belief he is a very sensitive person who is naturally very anxious for this matter to be resolved – he is not cavalier about these proceedings. We respect the charges and the judges but we feel that we presented our arguments well and raised some novel issues that the 11th Circuit Court had not heard before.

“The three judges are very bright men and we will just have to wait and see what their determination will be.”

Prosecutors, though believe that the law is clear when it comes to where trials are to take place and that Snipes attorneys were too late in asking for a change of venue.

“Wesley Snipes received a fair trial and a fair sentence.  His numerous appeals do not make that sentence erroneous,” said US Assistant Attorney Patricia Barksdale.



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