Wesley Snipes indicted

Published: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 2:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 2:31 p.m.

OCALA, Fla. - Attorneys for actor Wesley Snipes tried again Friday to have his federal tax-evasion trial moved from this central Florida city.

Wesley Snipes
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Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes arrives at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival in Los Angeles in this Feb. 8, 2007 photo. Wesley Snipes' federal tax-evasion trial will go forward next month in this central Florida city, despite arguments by the actor's lawyers. The rulings were made by U.S. District Judge William T. Hodges on Monday, according to court documents.

Matt Sayles/The Associated Press, file photo

Snipes' lawyer Robert Barnes also filed a motion to put the trial scheduled to begin Jan. 14 on hold until the appellate court rules on the change of venue request.

The actor's legal team argued Snipes cannot get a fair trial in Ocala, located about 80 miles north of Orlando. Snipes previously filed two motions to dismiss or transfer the trial because of racial prejudices.

Last month, U.S. District Judge William T. Hodges denied Snipes' motions to relocate and postpone the trial.

A telephone message left for Snipes' attorney was not immediately returned Friday evening.

Federal prosecutors have previously said there is "no basis in reality" for Snipes' claims.

A federal indictment charges Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling almost $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The 45-year-old star of the "Blade" trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.

Snipes allegedly conspired with American Rights Litigators' founder Eddie Ray Kahn and tax preparer Douglas P. Rosile Sr. to file false refund claims based on a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources was subject to taxation.

Lawyers argued Snipes had the right to a trial in New York, where he lived between October 2000 and April 2005 when the offenses allegedly occurred, or in Orlando, where he also has a home.

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