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Jurors Urged to Acquit 'Crazy' Wesley Snipes

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Jan 30, 2008 | 5:10am EST

Wesley Snipes' lawyer has urged jurors to acquit the star because acting "kooky, crazy and loony" is not against the law.

Attorney Robert Barnes, who is defending the actor against tax evasion charges, told the Ocala, Florida, court that Snipes does not deserve to be jailed--and he will still be punished if he escapes prison.

The Blade star stands accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. out of millions of dollars in 2000 as part of a conspiracy scheme with co-defendants Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile, and then failing to file tax returns. Prosecutors allege that Snipes flooded the U.S. tax agency with bizarre correspondence rather than file tax returns on his estimated $38 million income.

But Snipes' legal team insists the actor should not face a criminal conviction--because even if he is acquitted, Snipes will still face a civil prosecution.

Barnes says, "Kooky, crazy and loony is not a crime. This is a case that should have been in civil court. Disagreement is not deception. Frivolous is not fraud.

"He'll probably spend the next 20 years working for the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). They can collect all the penalties and interest they want."

Snipes faces up to 16 years behind bars if convicted of all charges--six counts of failing to file tax returns, two of fraudulently claiming tax refunds and one of conspiracy to defraud the government. Jurors are expected to begin their deliberations on Wednesday.

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