OCALA, Fla. – Wesley Snipes is trying again to have his federal tax-evasion trial moved from this central Florida city.
Snipes' lawyer, Robert Barnes, filed a motion with a federal appeals court in Atlanta on Friday, arguing that U.S. District Judge William T. Hodges erred last month when he denied Snipes' motions to relocate and postpone the trial.
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.
Barnes also filed a motion Friday to put the trial — scheduled to begin Jan. 14 — on hold until the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the change of venue request.
A telephone message left for Snipes' attorney was not returned.
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.