Reporting from New York — — Wesley Snipes is hoping that the arrest of his former financial advisor could help reverse the actor's tax-charge conviction on which he has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Kenneth I. Starr, who was arrested Thursday and charged with fraud and money laundering in federal court in New York, was Snipes' financial advisor in the 1990s. Starr, a prosecution witness in Snipes' 2008 tax-evasion trial, testified then that he told the movie star he needed to file tax returns, despite contrary advice the actor obtained from an anti-tax outfit.
The testimony by Starr, described by the prosecutor in his closing statement as "a competent tax professional," was a major reason the jury convicted Snipes on three misdemeanor charges, said Robert Barnes, Snipes' lead trial lawyer. His client was acquitted of felony charges in the case.
Barnes said he was confident the conviction would be overturned now that Starr had been arrested.
"Wes will pursue all legal remedies if the government doesn't step up to the plate and drop these charges on its own," said Barnes, who is with the Bernhoft Law Firm in Los Angeles.