Survivor Winner Hatch Granted Appeal
LATEST: Survivor winner Richard Hatch has been granted a hearing in the US Court of Appeals regarding his tax evasion case.
Hatch, who won the first season of the reality TV series in 2000, was convicted of tax evasion last January (06) after he was found guilty of not paying tax on his $1 million (GBP513,000) prize.
He is currently serving a 51-month sentence at a minimum-security prison in West Virginia and claims his trial for tax fraud was unfair and his sentence too harsh.
His Texas-based lawyer says, "I am deeply grateful that they have decided to hear us. I expected them to because these are serious, important, constitutional issues."
A spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Rhode Island, where Hatch was found guilty, said appeals hearings are routine adding, "There's nothing unusual about this at all.
"Oral arguments are a standard part of the appellate process."
During his trial, Hatch said he thought US network CBS would pay his taxes on the prize and blamed his financial predicament on bad bookkeeping.