Richard Hatch: The Naked Truth
BY Brandon Voss
February 14 2011 1:25 PM ET
I assume there were no conjugal visits.
No. And for the first six months, before I was moved to the Federal Correctional Institution in West Virginia, any visit with anyone was behind glass. The system is so broken that I don’t even know how to begin. That’s an entire topic I could go on about, and hopefully I will someday.
Aren’t you working on a book?
Oh, yeah. I wrote every day the entire time I was in prison. What publishers are waiting for and what I’m waiting for before accepting the offer is for the ending to be that I’m exonerated. It’s a heck of a battle, but I’m hopeful.
As recently as two weeks ago, it was reported that you might be headed back to jail. Should we be worried?
Absolutely you should be worried. I’m worried. Prosecutors are desperate to uphold this wrongful conviction. I’ve served nearly four years in prison, my entire sentence, and I’m on supervised release, which other people know as probation. I’ve also done everything humanly possible to comply with the original judge’s special conditions. One condition was that he ordered me to get mental health counseling. Probation got me a psychiatrist who said he didn’t understand why I was even there, so probation said I’d met that condition. The second condition was that he ordered me to amend my tax returns from 2000 and 2001, but they’re still the subject of an ongoing audit. To this day, the IRS has never given me a bill, so no taxes have ever been determined to be due. You can’t submit amended returns in the midst of an audit, not that I could submit them anyway because I haven’t been given figures as to how those returns should be amended. Not knowing what to do, the prosecutors just submitted their last brief on January 31, arguing to put me back in prison for not amending the returns. It’s infuriating. Now we’re waiting for the judge to decide what to do — decide whether this is a technical violation or whether I’m thumbing my nose at the court, which I’m obviously not. I’ve been in communication with probation this entire year and a half, and I have a hundred e-mails that express my cooperation with the IRS. But I’m still worried because I’ve seen what’s happened before. It’s not always about what’s true.
Here’s the million-dollar question: Considering all the problems that have stemmed from your Survivor winnings, do you wish you’d never won the damn prize in the first place?
That would be a waste of time, wouldn’t it? As an observer of life and one who lives it day by day, it is what it is. You take what you can from your experiences. It’s been devastating to me, my family, my friends, but I’m blown away and fascinated by what I’ve learned. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a huge contribution one day. Once I’m finally exonerated, I’ll have the credibility to make a difference that will affect many peoples’ lives.