The first winner of US reality TV show Survivor has claimed he was only jailed for tax evasion because he is gay.
Richard Hatch, who won the first series of the show, served nearly four years in prison for failing to pay taxes on his $1 million winnings. He was convicted in 2006.
He told Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today show he was sure the judge had a homophobic bias towards him.
“My personal opinion – he was trying to discriminate against me,” Hatch said. “I don’t think you or anyone else can deny that we, as homosexuals, face discrimination.”
“I know without question that there are personal issues involved for the prosecutor. I don’t know why. The prosecutorial misconduct has been egregious.”
Former US Attorney Robert Clark Corrente, the prosecutor who oversaw the case, told Associated Press that Hatch’s claims were “delusional”.
Hatch was recently released from prison and is under house arrest in Newport, Rhode Island, until October 7th. He is hoping to be exonerated, claiming he had ineffective legal representation.
UPDATED: According to reports, Hatch was arrested again yesterday afternoon.
MSNBC reports that he was taken from the Newport house where he is under house arrest and brought to the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office in Bourne, Massachusetts, where federal prisoners are temporarily held.
A prison spokeswoman said she could not give the reason for his arrest.