Hollywood star Wesley Snipes jailed for three years
The actor Wesley Snipes has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion.
The 45-year-old star of movies including White Men Can't Jump and the Blade trilogy, was given the maximum sentence by a Florida judge, after dodging over $15 million (£7.5 million) in federal income taxes from career earnings.
Celebrity friends appealed to the judge to allow Snipes his freedom. Denzel Washington wrote to the US District Court judge William Terrell Hodges asking that Snipes be saved from a jail sentence.
In the letter Washington wrote: 'Wesley is like a mighty oak tree. Many who know him have witnessed the fruit of his labours. I have sat in his shade and even been protected by his presence.'
Another Hollywood pal, Woody Harrelson, stood up for Snipes, a friend for the last twenty years. 'He strives for rightness in all his relations and it is an honour to call Wes my brother,' said Harrelson.
However, the pleas fell on deaf ears when Snipes was sentenced.
US lawyer Robert O'Neill described Snipes as a 'notorious' tax protestor who consistently used spurious arguments to avoid paying his taxes.
An extensive memo to the court, calling for the maximum sentence, read: 'If ever a tax offender was deserving of being held accountable to the maximum extent for his criminal wrongdoing, Snipes is that defendant.'
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