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Original 'Survivor' Richard Hatch pleads innocent to tax charges

UPI News Service, 09/19/2005 

"Survivor" winner Richard Hatch Monday pleaded innocent to charges including tax evasion and fraud in a Providence, R.I., federal courtroom.

Hatch, 44, the winner of the CBS reality show's $1 million grand prize in its inaugural season, told reporters before his arraignment the case against him is "absurd," the Providence Journal reported. "I'm not guilty," he said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln B. Almond released Hatch on a $50,000 secured bond after attorney John MacDonald entered not guilty pleas to all the charges, the newspaper said.

Hatch was named in a 10-count Sept. 8 indictment charging him with failing to pay taxes on his "Survivor" winnings, earnings from a radio show, rental income and donations he raised for his charity, then allegedly used for himself.

Hatch agreed in March to plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion, but he walked away from that agreement, which brought on the current indictments, the Journal said.

The reality TV star has repeatedly charged federal officials have a personal vendetta against him, but U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente said, "It's not about personality. This is about evidence."

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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