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EXCLUSIVE: Chris Hansen, who has been hit with myriad legal issues over the past three years, said he scrambled to get his ducks in a row right before he was hit with yet another issue: a bench warrant for failing to appear at a recent court hearing in Michigan.
The incident occurred after Hansen was accused of not providing footage of an investigation – a police sting involving a former corrections officer who was allegedly caught trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in a very graphic conversation with the minor – earlier this month.
The ex-"To Catch a Predator" host told Fox News that reports he was served with a subpoena – and subsequently failed to turn over raw footage from a police sting – is "much ado about nothing" and "silliness." Hansen claims the notice was taped to a door of his West Bloomfield, Mich., place despite his residence of record being in New York City.
"This wasn't one of those First Amendment battles where we're trying to sandbag the defense counsel for a bad guy who got caught trying to rape a child," Hansen, 61, said of the issued warrant, which came after defense lawyers for the ex-corrections officer, Michael Lott, supposedly "grew impatient" with the speed that Hansen had not provided the raw sting footage.
"This was us exposing a bad guy trying to rape a child and getting caught up in a legal misunderstanding – a civil, not criminal legal misunderstanding," he added.
Hansen said he was in New York and had only learned of the show cause hearing – a court order that requires an individual to offer an explanation – the day before he was ordered to appear in Michigan. According to Hansen, he pleaded with the Shiawassee County court clerk, through his attorney John Esposito, to allow a virtual hearing in order to clear up the confusion centered on his alleged failure to provide the videotapes.
For his voice in the matter, Hansen then retained local counsel in Michigan, attorney Clint Perryman, to be his boots on the ground. Perryman told Fox News on Wednesday that Hansen "has always and wasn't intending to not comply" with the defense counsel’s request to receive all of the available sting footage, pressing that the legal matter "was a civil contempt issue" and "it wasn't that Chris had done anything criminal."
Although the warrant was ultimately "vacated" and "rescinded," per Esposito and Perryman, respectively, Hansen has had a string of past legal problems. In 2019, Hansen was charged with issuing bad checks and failing to pay some $13,000 to a vendor for marketing materials.
Within the same week, a report surfaced that he was also evicted from his New York City apartment after the rent check he sent in was allegedly $400 short of the amount owed.
Hansen was also charged with harassment -- communication in manner to cause alarm -- in Hoboken, N.J., in February 2020. Court documents obtained by Fox News at the time showed the alleged offense date listed as Feb. 5 at 5:40 a.m and a "civilian" is listed as the complainant.
He turned himself in to authorities over the bounced checks, Stamford Police told Fox News at the time, and he was released without bond and signed a PTA, or a promise to appear in court.
When pressed on the charges and reoccurring legal problems, Hansen told Fox News it was a matter of "corporate issues and commitments where other people were relied upon to make."
"When they weren't made it was all cleared up in a matter of days," he stated to Fox News of his reported failure to pay. "Again, ultimately, my name is on the entity and the corporation, and it's on me to do it, which I did."
"These weren't, you know, personal bad behavior items, these were corporate things where other people were supposed to take care of the matters and didn't, and when I realized what had happened, like I said, it was resolved in a matter of days," he said.
Hansen, who has made a living out of bringing "violent predators" to justice through his many "predator"-style series' spin-offs and podcast, "Predators I’ve Caught," also offered his opinion on the ongoing Josh Duggar child pornography case, which he's not involved in but familiar with the legal proceedings. Hansen said it's "something I need to look into."
"I think that this is something that's been going on for a lot longer than people have suspected," he said. "I think there's a ton to it in terms of who knows what within the family, what was overlooked, you know, because there was a television show and money to be made. And I think there's a whole lot there that we don't know."
"The allegations here, in this case, are vile, they're volitive and absolutely disgusting criminal [behavior]," he continued. "I mean, when you talk about bringing child pornography into this and the multiple many images that are being discussed here in terms of what investigators are finding, every time one of those very disturbing images is viewed, it's the revictimization of a child. That child is being raped all over again every time somebody clicks on that and [Duggar] is responsible allegedly, and according to prosecutors and investigators, for multiple, multiple transmissions and sharing of those images, it's one of the worst crimes in the world."
He added: "And then profiting off of it on top of it – like the guy can't just be on TV and make money from his crazy family life – that's not enough? Now, you got to go be an absolutely horrific violent predator on top of it? It's one of the most disturbing cases I've ever heard about."
Hansen came to notoriety after hosting the "To Catch a Predator," the NBC "Dateline" segment-turned-reality show in which he exposed predators who believed they were interacting with underage children and later tried to meet up with them.