Snipes' tax trial set to begin next month

Dec. 27, 2007 at 8:46 PM
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OCALA, Fla., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Wesley Snipes' tax evasion trial is set to start in Florida next month, The Ocala Star-Banner reported Thursday.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges this week rejected a request by Snipes' lawyers to move the trial to a venue outside Marion County. The attorneys had claimed that Ocala was too racist for the black film star to get a fair trial.

Hodges also denied a motion to postpone the trial, which is scheduled to start Jan 14.

"We're pleased with the judge's decision and we're ready to go to trial," said Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, Fla.

Snipes' lawyers could not be reached for comment, the Star-Banner said.

The actor best-known for starring in the "Blade" trilogy -- as well as "Murder at 1600," "White Men Can't Jump" and "Jungle Fever" -- pleaded innocent last year to federal tax charges.

He was indicted in October 2006 on charges he tried to collect more than $11 million in allegedly fraudulent tax refunds, and quit filing altogether in 1998.

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