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Imprisoned 'Survivor' winner Richard Hatch protests Scooter Libby


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/05/2007 

President George W. Bush recently commuted Scooter Libby's sentence, eliminating the former presidential assistant's time behind bars.  Now imprisoned Survivor: Borneo winner Richard Hatch is apparently wondering what happened to his presidential pardon.

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"What a country! Excessive sentence! Where's my pardon/commutation?" the jailed Hatch -- who unlike recently released fellow reality star Paris Hilton, apparently has email access while behind bars -- wrote to The Boston Globe pop culture reporter and critic Joanna Weiss on Tuesday from his minimum-security prison camp in Morgantown, WV. 

"If Bush believes the judge in Scooter Libby's case sentenced Libby too harshly, perhaps Bush should closely examine what bigoted and otherwise biased judges are doing every day all over the country.  Our system, with its judges (simple, flawed human beings) appointed for life and virtually without oversight, is destroying lives. I suggest we begin in Rhode Island with Ernest Torres."

The 45-year-old Newport, RI-native resident is apparently still harboring a grudge from when a jury convicted him on charges of tax evasion last January in U.S. District Court, which was followed by U.S. District Chief Judge Ernest C. Torres handing him a 51-month sentence.  At his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Hatch "intentionally avoided" paying taxes on income from Survivor, a stint as a radio-show host, celebrity appearances and rental property.  

However Hatch has made his own allegations that he's an "innocent man in jail."  While filming the first season of Survivor in Borneo, Hatch claims he saw a member of the reality competition series' production crew give food to other castaways throughout the course of the show.  When he eventually won the first season of Survivor, Hatch said he thought CBS would pay for the taxes on his $1 million winnings because  after a "heated" meeting with the show's executive producers, they allegedly agreed to pay his taxes if he'd keep quiet about the cheating. 

On March 8, Hatch's lawyers filed an appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on his behalf to overturn the conviction, and according to the Globe, the Survivor: Borneo winner and Survivor: All-Stars castaway is still awaiting the results.

But Hatch has apparently been able to stay busy while behind bars, mostly by bashing the country's legal system as well as the Bush administration through email correspondence he's had with Weiss (talk about minimum security).  She reported he recently sent her one email titled "Burn, Hatch, Burn," in which he draws comparisons between himself and a Salem witch and recounts the reasoning behind why he believes he was unfairly imprisoned.

"So far, nobody has expressed much interest in most of what has occurred or is true in my case," he wrote to Weiss. "I am absolutely innocent and I find such apathy personally sad but nonetheless fascinating."

(Photo credit CBS)


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