Wesley Snipes has dismissed rumors he continues to owe American authorities millions of dollars in back taxes, insisting his bill is fully paid up. The Hollywood actor was convicted of failing to file a tax return in 2008 and is preparing to report to jail this week to begin serving a three-year sentence.
Snipes, who has spent two years fighting the verdict, reportedly failed to hand over a massive $38 million, dating back to 1999, but the Blade star is adamant he has paid back all the money he owed and was never trying to avoid settling the tax bill.
He tells Larry King, "They (the press) claimed that there was a certain number that was owed and that number has slid all over the place. And the press has escalated it and changed it a number of times. But we think that we are fully compliant with whatever was owed for the years in question."
And when the host asked if Snipes has now paid, he replied, "Oh, yes, Larry. Not only did I pay, but my position was that I would always pay."
In related news, a juror who convicted Wesley Snipes on tax charges has broken his silence about the star's case - alleging three members of the panel pre-determined his guilt before the trial. The "Blade" actor has been ordered to report to jail by Thursday, December 9 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.
Earlier this year, Snipes' lawyers filed a court motion alleging they had received an email from an unnamed member of the jury, who claimed three people on the panel admitted they thought Snipes was guilty before the trial had even begun. The judge overseeing the case rejected the defense team's request to interview the juror and the claim failed to help Snipes.
But with just days to go before his surrender date the star is refusing to give up hope of avoiding prison. He appeared on U.S. TV show "Larry King Live" on Tuesday night, December 7 and the show's producers obtained a statement from a jury member which was read out by King.
The statement read, "There was one juror that had said they knew Mr. Snipes was guilty when they first saw him during jury selection. I told the juror that was not right and it went against what the judge had said to us before the trial was to begin."
"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 admits he is disappointed the judge did not take the matter into consideration, saying, "I was surprised that not only did he not consider it, he wouldn't consider even interviewing the juror even though he made himself available to be interviewed, whether it was with the defense counsel or whether it was with the judge in his own private chambers."