Actor Wesley Snipes, convicted of three misdemeanor counts of of tax evasion back in February (blogged here), is to be sentenced today.
Federal prosecutors have gone on record in seeking the maximum punishment for the actor: up to three years in prison and a fine of $5 million.
Snipes attorneys, meanwhile, have submitted a 70-page sentencing memo (courtesy of TaxProf) to the court arguing for clemency, because, in part, the actor, most well-known for his "Blade" vampire films, "is contrite, promises that he will never again break the law, and respectfully asks the Court to consider not just the jury verdict but also all the good that he has done in his life. He asks this Honorable Court to impose a sentence that does not include imprisonment."
Included as part of the memo are several character references, including letters from fellow actors Denzel Washington, who refers to his Hollywood colleague as "a tree -- a mighty oak," and Woody Harrelson, who calls Snipes a "strong role model."
You can read both letters at The Smoking Gun.
Both sides have a lot at stake. Snipes could lose his freedom for several years and the U.S. government could lose credibility in its efforts to bring tax evaders to justice. We'll let you know Snipes' ultimate tax fate when the judge decides.