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'The Situation' pleads not guilty to tax fraud

Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, a former cast member of the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore," pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal tax fraud charges.

Sorrentino entered his formal plea to four criminal counts before U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark, New Jersey. His brother, Marc, also pleaded not guilty to four counts.

The judge set their trial for Dec. 2. Both defendants are free on bond.

Federal prosecutors last month accused the brothers of trying to avoid paying taxes on $8.9 million of Michael Sorrentino's income from 2010 to 2012.

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They said the brothers did this by filing false tax returns that understated their income, and improperly claiming millions of dollars of expenses on clothes, expensive vehicles and other personal items as business expenses.

Michael Sorrentino faces two counts of filing false tax returns, and one count each of conspiracy and failing to file a tax return. Marc Sorrentino faces three counts of filing false tax returns and one count of conspiracy.

"Jersey Shore" featured 20-something Italian-Americans partying, tanning and complaining about their jobs at a beachfront T-shirt stand.

Michael Sorrentino popularized the phrase "gym, tan, laundry" to describe the pre-party routine of cast members. His Twitter account has about 1.45 million followers. "Jersey Shore" ended production in 2012.

Richard Sapinski, a lawyer for Michael Sorrentino, said he will be reviewing materials provided by the government through discovery, "and starting to prepare for trial."

 
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