OCALA, Fla. – Wesley Snipes must surrender to prison authorities June 3 if he isn't granted bail to appeal three federal tax convictions, defense lawyers said in a court filing.
Snipes' attorneys plan to argue before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the trial judge erred in several ways before and after his February conviction. U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges last month sentenced Snipes to three years in prison.
To be granted freedom during the appeal, the 45-year-old actor must prove that he has a substantial issue to raise and isn't a flight risk. His attorneys argue that Hodges gave the jury bad instructions and should have granted them an expanded pretrial hearing on their request to move the proceedings.
Prosecutors said Snipes had no major issues to raise and has demonstrated he could flee. In a Monday filing, U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill said Snipes told the probation office he had less than $10,000 in liquid assets, but the actor surprised the government by producing $5 million in payment for back taxes at his sentencing.
"His apparent lack of candor about his assets, combined with trial evidence that he has transferred millions of dollars offshore, show some risk of flight," O'Neill wrote.
Snipes, the star of the "Blade" trilogy, "White Men Can't Jump," "Jungle Fever" and other films, hasn't filed a tax return since 1998, the government alleged.