Monday, January 28, 2008
The prosecution rested in the Wesley Snipes case with a prosecution tax witness making the final statement to the jury. (See Orlando Sentinel AP here and Stephen Hudak here and here). Rick Cundiff at Ocala.com reports on discovery issues regarding one of the prosecution witnesses. And the star, Snipes, seems to be getting a crowd for the show (see here). There is even a blog devoted to following the trial (here).
Next week is defense week, although the defense does not have to present any witnesses or do anything for that matter. A defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent and the burden never shifts to the defense on the crucial issue of whether the accused is guilty of the crimes charged. The initial list of witesses included many a celebrity (e.g. Sylvester Stallone), but whether that will happen is an unknown, just as having Snipes testify is uncertain. Here are some pros and cons of having Snipes take the stand -
- There are a lot of years without tax returns to explain away.
- It provides an opportunity for the government to increase the amount of potentially damaging evidence as Snipes would be required to answer questions posed to him.
- Unlike so many witnesses, he has experience speaking to a crowd.
- It would give him a chance to provide the jury with an explanation of his lack of intent - a crucial hurdle faced by the prosecution.
It could be a long or very short week, depending on what the defense decides to do here.