Wesley Snipes tells Larry King why he shouldn't go to prison
Due to report to prison Thursday for failure to file tax returns, actor Wesley Snipes pulled out the big guns Tuesday night: He went on "Larry King Live."
"I want us to try the case in the court, and not in the media," his attorney Daniel R. Meacham said on the show. Snipes' appeal of his three-year sentence was rejected in July, and his request for a retrial was rejected in November.
"It's been presented as though I'm worthy of this punishment," Snipes told King. "I've been a law-abiding citizen ever since I grew up in the Bronx, New York."
Sounding like another celeb who's had trouble coming to terms with a court's decision, Snipes said he believed he was "fully compliant" in paying what he owed -- reportedly about $17 million, though that number didn't come from him.
"They claimed that there was a certain number that was owed and that number has been all over the place," Snipes said. "The press has escalated it and changed it a number of times. But we think we are fully compliant with what was owed. Not only did I pay but my position is that I always paid."
The "Blade" star was convicted in 2008 of failing to file tax returns in the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, when he earned $40 million. He was acquitted on federal felony tax fraud and conspiracy charges.
As for his Thursday plans, Snipes said: "We still have prayers out there, Larry. We still believe in miracles. So don't send me up the river just yet."
Snipes' request to report to prison Jan. 6 instead of Thursday -- on the grounds that because he has kids, he shouldn't have to go to prison during the holidays and it would be too disruptive to leave them before the holidays -- was denied Monday.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Wesley Snipes at the Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 8, 2009. Credit: Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images