A judge has refused Wesley Snipes' request to postpone his upcoming tax evasion trial, accusing the Hollywood actor of deliberately attempting to avoid facing the charges.
The star of the Blade trilogy was last year (2006) accused of fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million (?6 million) for income taxes already paid between 1996 and 1997. He was further charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through to 2004.
Snipes' new head lawyer, Robert G. Bernhoft, filed the motion to postpone the star's 22 October (2007) court date because they feared his former attorney Daniel Meachum would not be physically fit to carry out his responsibilities in the trial.
And according to the legal documents, Snipes also felt that trial attorney William R. Martin was ill-prepared for the case.
But Senior Judge Terrell Hodges dismissed the claim on Wednesday (03Oct07), saying: "This series of events would lead any reasonable person to suspect that the defendant's dismissal of able counsel is nothing more than a ploy designed to force a continuance of the trial. In any event, it will not have that effect."
Snipes will now have to appear in a U.S. court to face the federal charges. ( FF )