'Survivor's' Hatch appeals to Supreme Court

CBS says winner's claim over taxes has no merit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch has appealed his tax evasion conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court, his attorney said Tuesday.

Hatch was convicted two years ago of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he won on the debut season of the hit CBS reality series. The Newport man was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Hatch's lawyer, Michael Minns, has said his client confronted producers about cheating during taping of the show, and a producer promised his taxes would be paid if he kept quiet and went on to win the competition. CBS has said Hatch's claims have no merit.

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court on May 23, Minns argued the judge improperly prevented Hatch from testifying about the conversation.

Minns also argued the judge unfairly limited his cross-examination of the tax accountant who prepared Hatch's tax returns and who was a key witness for the government.

"He's extremely optimistic about his appeal," Minns said. "He still believes the system should work."

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up only a small number of the appeals it receives.

Minns also said Hatch was writing a book about "his experiences with the legal system and his disappointment not just with the problems that he suffered but with the problems other people have suffered that he has met."

Hatch also was convicted of evading taxes on his earnings as co-host of a Boston radio show and from rental properties. He was acquitted of seven fraud charges related to a charity he planned to open for troubled youth.