Last year he was convicted of tax evasion; now Richard Hatch, winner of the very first season of Survivor
, wants a new trial.
Hatch's lawyer, Michael Minns, says that Hatch thought Survivor's
producers or CBS itself was going to pay the taxes on his million-dollar prize. Why? Because during his time on the show in 2000, he says, he caught Survivor
employees cheating, slipping food to other contestants.
According to Hatch, he then made a deal with Survivor
producer Mark Burnett that if he won they'd pay the taxes on the grand prize.
Hatch and Minns now claim that Hatch was prevented from testifying about this at his original trial. The judge, Ernest Torres, did stop Minns from asking Hatch about how certain events from his time on Survivor
; however, Judge Torres allowed Hatch to testify about why he believed he did not owe any taxes, and Hatch did not attempt to bring up any charges of cheating at that time – according to Minns, because he thought it would look bad to the jury.
"You don't ask a question you don't know what the answer to is going to be or you're going to get slammed. If that's an error in judgment, it's my error," said Minns.
"The court never, ever prevented Richard Hatch from discussing any alleged deal with Mark Burnett," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Lockhart, saying it's "too late" now for Hatch to change his story.
CBS denies that any of these supposed off-camera events happened, naturally, and they don't seem at all concerned with the allegations. Hatch has no proof or witnesses that we know of at this time.
Does Hatch's claim that this is all some weird misunderstanding even make sense? It wasn't just the Survivor
winnings that got him sent up the river, after all; his conviction also included charges from not paying taxes on income from real estate and a radio show hosting job. What's his excuse for that?
Richard Hatch is currently serving a four-year sentence at the minimum security Federal Correctional Institution at Morgantown in West Virginia.
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources: Providence Journal, Access Hollywood
Photo courtesy of USA Today