Will Muhammad Ali deliver a knockout punch in favor of actor Wesley Snipes? The former heavyweight champ and “Sportsman of the Year” is one of many names that attorneys for Wesley Snipes presented at trial as potential character witnesses. Other names that were mentioned as potential witnesses to vouch for what a good guy Snipes really is (*cough*) include Spike Lee, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Woody Harrelson, Sylvester Stallone and Gus Van Sant.

Snipes is on trial in Ocala, FL, despite his protestations, accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. of millions of dollars. Prosecutors say he fraudulently filed for refunds of $11 million in paid 1996 and 1997 taxes and directed his movie companies to stop withholding taxes from employees. Attorneys for Snipes insist he was misled by unscrupulous advisers and didn’t know he was doing anything wrong.

Snipes, who starred in the popular “Blade” movies, faces as many as 16 years in prison if convicted.

His longtime adviser had this cryptic message for the press: “We want the jury to understand that Wesley Snipes is very much like everybody at the same time, and at the same time very different.”

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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