Wesley Snipes’ defense rests in actor’s tax fraud and conspiracy case in Ocala, Fla.

Actor Wesley Snipes leaves the Federal Courthouse in Ocala Fla. in this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo. The prosecution in the tax evasion trial of Wesley Snipes rested Friday, Jan. 25, 2008, clearing the way next week for the defense and its potential list of Reinhold Matay, The Associated Press

AP

Actor Wesley Snipes leaves the Federal Courthouse in Ocala Fla. in this Dec. 8, 2006, file photo. The prosecution in the tax evasion trial of Wesley Snipes rested Friday, Jan. 25, 2008, clearing the way next week for the defense and its potential list of Reinhold Matay, The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

OCALA, Fla. – The defense in the tax fraud and conspiracy trial of Wesley Snipes rested Monday.

Snipes, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile were named in an eight-count indictment. Snipes and the co-defendants allegedly stopped filing his federal tax returns in 2000, demanded some $11 million in refunds on taxes previously paid and tried to settle other U.S. Treasury debts with fake checks.

All three were charged tax fraud and conspiracy, while Snipes faced six additional charges of willful failure to file a return from 1999 to 2004. The 45-year-old actor, star of the “Blade” films, faces a potential sentence of 16 years in prison, while Kahn and Rosile could get 10. However, sentences that long are extremely rare in these cases.

“We chose not to call witnesses because there was no need to. The government prosecutors have put on a case that simply does not come close to meeting the standard of its burden of proof,” Snipes’ attorney Daniel Meachum said in a statement.

The trial, which had been expected to last a month, opened Jan. 14. The prosecution rested Friday.

“It was obvious after we went over the evidence the government presented that we could move on to closing arguments immediately and get a just acquittal for Wesley on all counts listed in the indictment,” Meachum said.

Snipes’ attorneys said he was the victim of unscrupulous accountants and sincerely believed he didn’t have to pay taxes.

Closing arguments were scheduled Tuesday.