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Wesley Snipes on bail in tax case

23 May 08 09:24 GMT

Actor Wesley Snipes has been granted bail while he appeals against his conviction for tax offences.

The 45-year-old was sentenced in April to three years in prison for failing to file income tax returns between 1999 and 2001.

A US judge granted the request for bail saying the star did not pose a flight risk nor was a threat to the community.

The Blade star had been due to report to prison authorities by 3 June to begin his sentence.

'Dubious'

In arguments for bail, Snipes' lawyers wrote that he was "actively engaged in resolving his liabilities with the Internal Revenue Service [US tax authority] civilly" and a meeting with the agency was scheduled for next week.

US District Judge William Terrell Hodges wrote in his decision that he was "dubious" of Snipes' appeal arguments.

But Mr Hodges agreed to bail, noting that Snipes otherwise could easily serve his entire sentence before a decision could be reached on his appeal.

In February, Snipes was found guilty of deliberately failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001, but was cleared of more serious fraud and conspiracy charges.

At his sentencing in April, prosecutors said the actor had earned more than $38m (£19.2m) since 1999, but had filed no tax returns or paid any taxes.

On the same day, Snipes' legal team brought in cheques totalling $5m (£2.5m), to give to tax authority agents during a court break.

Snipes' lawyers plan to argue before the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the trial judge made errors in several ways before and after his February conviction.

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