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David Brown

Major league slam: Judge orders Snipes to prison for tax evasion

David Brown
Big League Stew

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The actor who played Willie Mays Hayes in "Major League" and (sigh) Bobby Rayburn in "The Fan" might get a chance to make a baseball comeback in the California Penal League.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that a federal judge has denied Wesley Snipes' demand for a new trial. Snipes must surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (or, ironically, to U.S. Marshals) and begin serving 36 months for tax-related crimes. At least they didn't get him for killing Juan Primo.

Judge William Terrell Hodges wasn't buying Snipes' contention he didn't receive a fair trial. Snipes lawyers say they received two emails from jurors who claimed Snipes was guilty before the trial started.

Regardless, you can't steal home from Uncle Sam:

Snipes, 48, an Orlando-born star of "Jungle Fever," "White Men Can't Jump," and the Fugitive sequel "U.S. Marshals," was convicted in 2008 of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file federal tax returns. [...]

Best known as the vampire-killing hero in the science-fiction trilogy, "Blade," Snipes was accused of conspiring with Eddie Ray Kahn of Lake County to avoid paying more than $15 million in taxes from 1999 to 2004.

Huh. For some reason they omitted "Drop Zone" (from not only the list of credits, but also the charges). In fact, my biggest problem with the Sentinel story is that it fails to even mention Snipes' role in "Major League." No respect for the greatest baseball movie of all time? And for a man who rightly refused to be in either sequel, Snipes should have used that good sense to avoid Eddie Ray Kahn, too.

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