Wesley Snipes - Snipes' Lawyers File Emergency Motion For Retrial
Lawyers for Wesley Snipes filed an emergency court motion in Florida on Wednesday (08Dec10) demanding a new trial following fresh revelations about jury misconduct during his 2008 case for tax evasion.
The Blade star has been ordered to report to jail by Thursday (09Dec10) to begin serving a three-year sentence for failing to file tax returns. He has spent two years fighting his 2008 conviction and recently lost an appeal and a request for a retrial.
However, his lawyers are working on a new bid to keep the embattled actor out of prison, prompted by Snipes' Tuesday night (07Dec10) appearance on U.S. TV's Larry King Live.
Earlier this year (10), Snipes' lawyers alleged they had received an email from an unnamed member of the jury, who claimed three people on the panel had already made up their minds about Snipes before the trial had even begun.
The judge overseeing the case rejected the defence team's request to interview the juror and the claim failed to help Snipes.
However, producers on the news programme managed to track down the outspoken juror and obtained a statement, detailing the alleged misconduct.
The statement read: "There was one juror that had said they knew Mr. Snipes was guilty when they first saw him during jury selection...
"Two other jurors then agreed and said that they thought he was guilty when they first saw him before the trial began. We were deadlocked on our decision about Mr. Snipes before this happened. I was not expecting to hear that from a juror and most of the jurors felt the same. That's when a deal was made to find him, Mr. Snipes, guilty on the failure to file taxes and not guilty on the federal tax evasion charges. We did not think he would go to jail."
And Snipes' lawyers have pounced on the revelation, arguing in legal papers that the confession is grounds enough to push for a retrial, reports TMZ.com.
The case will be reviewed by a judge in Ocala, Florida, although it is not known if it will be enough to keep Snipes out of prison as his deadline to surrender looms.