January 30th has passed and the jury still has reached no verdict in the Wesley Snipes case. What does that mean? Probably it means they are doing their job!
Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges announced that jurors had a question. He displayed a copy of jury instructions marked with yellow highlighter and red marks, and told the lawyers present that the jury had a question about the meaning of the term “conspiracy.”
Snipes, Douglas Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim as part of an alleged tax fraud scheme. Snipes also is charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns between 1999 and 2004.
Because none of the defendants were in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, Hodges told the attorneys he would study the matter overnight and address with them the question of what to tell the jury Thursday morning.
The following was written in the White Collar Crime Prof Blog:
There are many levels to this trial. On the surface we see the courtroom battle with many years without tax returns, but also a question as to why he may not have filed them. Was it a conspiracy or was there a legitimate question? We also see a case in closing arguments while outside the courthouse an election is occuring. And finally we see an all-white jury coming from an all-white venire deciding the guilt or innocence of Snipes.
Commentary: I don’t see, in this country, whether you like the law or now, how one can be confused as to whether you are to file tax returns and pay taxes on income received. For years Snipes wasn’t confused. He earned money and paid taxes – just like any good citizen of this country. Then he met Kahn. Now I fear he’ll experience the Wrath of Kahn…by going to prison. (Could be wrong – doubt it)
What changed? Did Snipes somehow gain amnesia about this past earnings and taxes paid? Did he feel somehow that the laws had changed and he was no longer required? Or, did he fall prey to the likes of Kahn and his army of tax evaders (oops…I mean tax patriots)?
My bet is by week end we will see a guilty verdict on one or more levels.