Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Denzel Washington

James Devaney/WireImage.com, John Sciulli/WireImage.com, Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Woody Harrelson apparently didn't leave his loyalty toward Wesley Snipes out on the basketball court. And Denzel Washington…well, he remembers what it was like to be a struggling actor once.

The two-time Oscar winner and Snipes' White Men Can't Jump costar were two of nearly three dozen pals, associates and family members who penned requests for leniency on behalf of Snipes, who is awaiting sentencing tomorrow in federal court on misdemeanor charges of willful failure to file tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Prosecutors looking to throw the book at him have requested the max—three years in prison and a $5 million fine.

But Snipes won't be paying the piper quite so much if Harrelson and Washington—not to mention TV gavel-wielders Judge Joe Brown and Judge Greg Mathis, who also proffered testaments to Snipes' good character—have anything to say about it.

"Wesley is like a tree—a mighty oak," Washington, who says he's known Snipes for more than 20 years, wrote last month in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge William Terrell Hodges included in a sentencing memorandum filed earlier today by the actor's defense team.

Snipes' lawyers are asking for probation. But maybe they should be asking for a nice bit of earth.

"He stands for so many, 'like a tree, planted by streams of water with leaves that do not wither,' " Washington mused, quoting the Bible. "Many who know him have witnessed the fruit of his labors, have sat in his shade and even been protected by his presence."

Someone's read The Giving Tree...

"I am proud of him, proud to call him a fellow thespian and most importantly, proud to call him a friend," Washington continued. "I hope that sharing my observations will assist you in making the appropriate decision in his case."

Washington and Snipes costarred in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues in 1990.

Harrelson also took a philosophical approach, recalling his experience on the set of 1986's Wildcats, his first film with Snipes and, according to the actor, the first time he experienced racism (at the hands of crew members affiliated with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan).

"Wes took the time to discuss and dissect the issue of racism with all of us, and most of our free time together on the set was spent discussing race from a historical perspective," Harrelson wrote. "He strives for rightness in all his relations and I realized early on what a true citizen of the world Wes is. He continues to earn my respect to this day…

"I consider him a part of my family, and it is an honor to call Wes my brother."

This sort of kudos must give Snipes a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. But here's a question—with friends like these, what's he doing starring in The Detonator?

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