Traffic map
Article updated: 11/12/2013 5:59 PM

TV pitchman Trudeau jailed after jurors find him guilty

A jury found television infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt Tuesday.

A jury found television infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt Tuesday.

 

Associated Press/October 2013

 1 of 1 
 
text size: AAA
By Associated Press

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour Tuesday before finding Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt in weeklong trial during which prosecutors accused the TV pitchman of lying in infomercials to boost sales of his diet book.

In a rare move, immediately after the verdict Judge Ronald Guzman revoked the 50-year-old's bail and ordered marshals to take him into custody. White-collar defendants are typically allowed to remain free as they await sentencing.

As the federal judge read out the verdict to a crowded courtroom in Chicago earlier Tuesday, Trudeau sat on the edge of his seat -- but otherwise showed little emotion. One of his supporters wept as she left the courtroom minutes later.

Trudeau, who lives in Oak Brook, a Chicago suburb, theoretically could be sentenced to life behind bars for the criminal contempt conviction -- though he's likely to receive a far less severe sentence. No sentencing date was set Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Trudeau violated a federal judge's 2004 order barring him from making false claims about his book "The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About," which topped best-seller lists.

During closing arguments Tuesday morning, prosecutor Marc Krickbaum accused Trudeau of lying repeatedly about the benefits of the book in his infomercials, which were ubiquitous on late-night television.

"He made the book sound way better than it actually was," Krickbaum told jurors. "If he told the truth, that book wasn't going to sell nearly as well than if he lied."

But in his closing, defense lawyer Thomas Kirsch said prosecutors had failed to prove their case, noting they called just two witnesses. He said prosecutors also hadn't shown that any possible misstatements by Trudeau were intentional.

The core dispute revolved around dramatic claims in Trudeau's TV infomercials about the book, including that people who followed the diet need not exercise and could eventually eat anything they wanted without gaining weight.

The book describes a diet of 500 calories a day and the use of prescription hormones. The truth of the claims in the book itself weren't at issue -- only the veracity of claims Trudeau made on TV as he sought to persuade viewers to purchase the book.

In a related civil case, Trudeau has already been ordered to pay a $37 million judgment. The federal judge in that case said he was not convinced by Trudeau's insistence that he was broke and couldn't pay. Federal officials said they believe Trudeau is hiding money in secret foreign bank accounts.

Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.

This article filed under

Latest Video

MostViewed

Today
Yesterday
Most Commented
Top Jobs

    View all Top Jobs Place a job ad

    MarketsReport

    DHExtras

       
    • Newspaper next section - Newspaper next section Report card checker - report card checker
    • Dh innovation award 2 - Dh innovation award 2 Zillow /real estate page
    • Discuss refer On Guard series
    • Newspaper archives -- Monday or anyday Mike North

    FacebookActivity

    BusinessDirectory

    Connect with a business or service in your area fast. First select a town, then enter a search term or choose one of the listed popular searches:

    Don't see your town listed? Visit our full directory to begin your search.