Wesley Snipes’ attempt to delay his federal tax-evasion trial was denied Tuesday by a federal appeals court in Atlanta.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion from Snipes’ legal team to delay the trial, which is set to begin Jan. 14. The court also granted federal prosecutors’ motion to dismiss a defense request seeking to move the trial out of Ocala, about 80 miles north of Orlando.
Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said Monday the motion to move the trial was meaningless because the change of venue request applied only to some counts and not all.
Hodges also said the motion cited no legal authority for an appeal, making it “frivolous both on the merits as well as the absence of any established jurisdiction” for the appeals court, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.
Snipes’ lawyer, Robert Barnes, filed the motion last week in an attempt to delay the trial, scheduled to start Jan. 14.
The actor’s legal team argued Snipes cannot get a fair trial in Ocala, located about 80 miles north of Orlando. Snipes previously filed two motions to dismiss or transfer the trial because of racial prejudices.
Federal prosecutors have previously said there is “no basis in reality” for Snipes’ claims.
A federal indictment charges Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling almost $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The 45-year-old star of the “Blade” trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.
Snipes allegedly conspired with American Rights Litigators founder Eddie Ray Kahn and tax preparer Douglas P. Rosile Sr. to file false refund claims based on a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources was subject to taxation.
Lawyers argued Snipes had the right to a trial in New York, where he lived between October 2000 and April 2005 when the offenses allegedly occurred, or in Orlando, where he also has a home.
A message left with Snipes’ attorney by The Associated Press was not immediately returned Tuesday evening.