Actor Wesley Snipes will remain free on bond pending appeal of his conviction.
Snipes was sentenced last month to three years in prison for three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 (see Snipes Sentenced to Three Years for Tax Charges). He was acquitted of felony charges.
U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said he was "dubious" of Snipes' chances of succeeding with the appeal, but nevertheless granted him bail, noting that Snipes might otherwise serve the full sentence before his appeal was heard. Snipes was originally set to begin his jail term in early June.
Prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk. Snipes had claimed that he was unable to pay taxes on the more than $38 million he had earned since 1999, even though he managed to produce checks totaling $5 million on the day of sentencing.
Snipes' lawyers indicated that he is actively negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service on paying off his tax debts. The judge said that he did not consider Snipes a flight risk or a danger to the community.
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