Photos and Videos
Infomercial Pitchman Kevin Trudeau was released from a downtown jail Thursday afternoon. He spent the night in jail after failing to disclose thousands of dollars in a foreign bank account. Phil Rogers reports.
Veteran TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau was smiling and waving but uncharacteriscally quiet when he walked out of jail late afternoon Thursday.
Judge Robert Gettleman ordered Trudeau to be released a day after he was jailed. A court-appointed receiver said earlier this week the infomercial king was being elusive in disclosing his assets.
"No comment based on the fact that the case is still pending," Trudeau said as he entered a waiting cab.
Trudeau's freedom came also came with a warning.
Gettleman told Trudeau, who appeared in court wearing an orange jumpsuit and orange sneakers, that he better start being truthful or "you may end up wearing the same color you're wearing now."
The judge had ordered Trudeau jailed a day earlier, saying he regretted not granting the order to incarcerate Trudeau earlier.
Attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday noted the report of a court-appointed receiver, who said Trudeau had failed to disclose thousands of dollars in an Australian bank account which he continued to draw down for lavish purchases of food, alcohol, cigars, even haircuts.
Attorney Kenton Johnson said he met with Trudeau for three hours Wednesday evening and said he had "a fairly consistent failure of memory."
Johnson said Trudeau could remember some bank accounts but couldn't say where they were. Similarly Johnson said Trudeau recalled $100,000 in gold bars he gave his wife but couldn't say their whereabouts now.
Federal Trade Commission attorney Jonathan Cohen said Trudeau gave "nonsensical explanations" and in some cases "implausible, or demonstrably incorrect statements." For example Cohen asked Trudeau if he recalled being at the Renaissance Hotel. Trudeau said he did not but Cohen noted they have a receipt from the hotel this summer for a $644 charge.
Judge Gettleman expressed exasperation at Trudeau's tangled web of shell companies and offshore bank accounts that continue to baffle investigators.
"Millions of dollars have passed through these entities," he said, "and we still don't know where the money is!"
"You say you're broke, Mr. Trudeau, and it's hard to swallow!"
Trudeau insisted he was trying to be helpful. "There's not $37 million hidden somewhere," he told the judge. "There's not $10 million. There's not even a million."
"I'm penniless," he said. "I'm homeless. You have it all."
In the end, the judge ruled that Trudeau would be of more use on the outside, helping the government, than cooling his heels in jail.
Filings from the receiver on Tuesday indicated the veteran pitchman had hidden thousands in the Australian bank account and had actually spent much more than lawyers alluded to in court. The filing said Trudeau had shelled out nearly $900 on one trip to a Westmont liquor store, more than $920 at a west suburban cigar store, $1057 in meats from an online butcher, and $359 on haircuts at a Vidal Sassoon salon.
Cited with contempt, Trudeau faces a judgment of over $37 million.