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Lawyer: 'Survivor' winner Richard Hatch jailed for additional interviews


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/20/2009 

Richard Hatch's lawyer says a "little misunderstanding" about how many media outlets he was allowed to speak to this week is the reason for his current stint in the slammer.

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The original Survivor winner was arrested Tuesday for "improper contact with the public" after participating in several media interviews that were not approved by the federal Bureau of Prisons, his lawyer Cynthia Ribas told The Associated Press Wednesday.

While Hatch had received the bureau's permission to tape an interview with NBC's The Today Show on Monday, he had not received permission for two additional Monday interviews with NBC's Access Hollywood syndicated entertainment program and the network's WJAR-TV affiliate in Providence, RI, according Ribas.

In addition to the unapproved television interviews, Hatch also called into a Rhode Island talk radio program on WPRO-AM twice after the Today interview aired on Tuesday morning -- which he also did not receive permission for, Ribas told The Providence Journal.

Ribas claims she thought the bureau's permission extended to all NBC properties when The Today Show interview was approved.  However that was not the case, as a bureau lawyer told Ribas on Wednesday that federal rules consider each media outlet separate, according to The AP.

"I think this is a little misunderstanding that really has to do with the lawyer and the bureau and NBC's communications," Ribas told The AP.

Ribas told The AP she and Hatch had originally asked the Bureau of Prisons for permission to do four interviews, which included some other TV networks, but the bureau had told them they would only allow one.  Hatch then selected NBC, which subsequently submitted the paperwork required to get the bureau's permission for the interview, according to Ribas.

While Ribas initially told The AP that the bureau lawyer did not mention the WPRO interview when he told her why Hatch was taken in, she subsequently told The Journal that a message from the Bureau of Prisons left at her Los Angeles office on Wednesday stated that Hatch had also violated his agreement by going on WPRO.

The Bureau of Prisons has declined to reveal the reason for Hatch's arrest, citing privacy concerns, but told The Journal a failure to follow established home confinement policies is one reason someone in federal custody could end up back in jail.

All three television interviews were filmed at Hatch's sister's house in Newport, RI.  WJAR aired parts of its interview on Monday night and Tuesday morning, while The Today Show interview also aired Tuesday morning and the Access Hollywood interview aired that evening -- a few hours after Hatch was arrested and taken to the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office in Bourne, MA.

According to Hatch's sister, the 48-year-old is currently being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and has a hearing set for Friday morning at 9AM ET, The Today Show reported Thursday.

"I'm really looking to see what's a creative solution here," Ribas told The Today Show.  "Who actually had to suffer for this is Rich.  I just think it's a terrible outcome."

John DePetro, the host of the WPRO radio program Hatch called into, has previously stated the station had not asked the bureau's permission to speak with Hatch because the Survivor winner called the program on his own.

DePetro claims Hatch called his show after former U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente -- whose office prosecuted Hatch in 2006 -- had previously called after being angered by watching Hatch's Today interview, in which the Survivor winner accused Corrente of prosecutorial misconduct and the judge in his 2006 tax evasion case of sexual discrimination.

"The Corrente comment is what pushed his button," DePetro told The Journal. "I think he felt he had a right to respond to Corrente."

In addition, DePetro told The Journal that a Hatch family member he declined to identify told him on Tuesday afternoon that it was the WPRO interview that got Hatch into trouble.

Hatch had been serving the final few months of his 51-month sentence for tax evasion on home confinement in Newport.  He was scheduled to be released on October 7.

(Photo credit CBS)


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