*Attorneys for Wesley Snipes filed court documents Wednesday seeking to alter their defense strategy following the arrest of his former financial adviser on fraud and money laundering charges.
The actor was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file his income tax return in 2008. He is currently free pending an appeal to reduce a three-year prison sentence on U.S. federal tax charges.
Meanwhile, Snipes’ one-time accountant, celebrity investor Kenneth Starr, was arrested in May and accused of embezzling $30 million from his famous clients, including Uma Thurman and Martin Scorsese.
Starr has been charged with wire fraud, investment adviser fraud and money laundering amid claims he used the stolen cash to buy a Manhattan apartment.
Hoping Starr’s arrest will help Snipes’ case, his lawyers filed papers in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta asking for judges to ignore their petition for an appeal. Instead, Snipes’ attorneys want to lodge a new petition asking to have the star’s conviction dismissed, or set up a new trial on the grounds that the actor was the victim of a “miscarriage of justice.”
They argue that prosecutors were aware Starr was under federal investigation for his own tax violations when he was called to testify against Snipes in his 2008 trial, calling into question the adviser’s credibility.
In the legal papers, Snipes’ lawyer Daniel Meachum states that the charges against Starr “revealed new evidence pointing to a miscarriage of justice at Mr. Snipes’ trial.”