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In the movies he defeats bad guys and evades the Feds. In real life? Not so much.
Two years after being convicted on three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file his income tax returns, Wesley Snipes has been ordered to start serving a three-year prison term by Florida-based U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges.
"The time has come for the judgment to be enforced," Hodges wrote in a 17-page opinion, denying the defense's desire to overturn the conviction due to perceived misconduct.
Earlier this week the 48-year-old Snipes and his legal team pointed to the fact that they had not been aware that a key witness during the 2008 trial, the money manager Kenneth I. Starr, was at the time under investigation. Federal agents had been pursuing a case against Starr for defrauding some of his clients -- he has since pleaded guilty to the charges.
Additionally, after an Atlanta appeals court upheld Snipes' conviction this past summer, two jurors emailed the actor's lawyers expressing concern that three other jurors working the trial may not have begun the trial with "open minds," according to Forbes magazine.
Hodges dismissed complaints from Snipes' side on both of these fronts and is intent that the star now do time. Defense lawyers can make an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court before Dec. 28, but, as Forbes notes, it is unlikely they can do that before Snipes must begin his prison term.
It is a dramatic fall for the actor who first broke big in 1989 playing Willie Mays Hayes in the original "Major League" movie, which also featured another star-crossed young actor, Charlie Sheen.