Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Woody and Denzel appeal to Judge for Wesley

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OCALA - Defense lawyers for actor Wesley Snipes called upon his Hollywood friends Wednesday as they lobbied a judge to put Snipes on probation for tax crimes, suggesting that imprisoning the film star would be a "travesty."

In a memorandum filed in advance of Thursday's sentencing in federal court in Ocala, the defense team attached character-building testimonials for Snipes from fellow actors Denzel Washington and Woody Harrelson.

The documents also include a letter of support from TV's "Judge Joe Brown."

Washington compared Snipes to a "mighty oak" while Harrelson, who co-starred with Snipes in "Wildcats," "White Men Can't Jump," and "Money Train," praised the Orlando-born actor as his friend of more than 20 years.

"He strives for rightness in all his relations and I realized early on what a true citizen of the world Wes is," Harrelson wrote in a letter, dated March 24. "He respects a healthy debate, as do I, and we've had some memorable ones over the years which have influenced my thoughts and emotions. Wes seeks solutions and resolutions rather than sitting back and watching the horrors and injustices that plague our world."

Federal prosecutors previously filed a memorandum asking Senior U.S. District Court Judge William Terrell Hodges to impose a three-year prison sentence and levy a minimum fine of $5 million on Snipes, who was found guilty of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file a tax return.