Pitchman Avoids Jail Time

Court said Judge Gettleman shouldn't have charged him

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, May 20, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM CDT
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Trudeau appealed his sentence.

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An appeals court in Chicago says infomercial pitchman and author Kevin Trudeau won't have to serve a 30-day jail sentence for getting his supporters to flood a federal judge's computer with e-mails.

The appeals court threw out Trudeau's contempt of court conviction Thursday. The court says the judge shouldn't have found him guilty on the spot without giving him a hearing because the act didn't take place in the presence of the court.

In February U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman sentenced Trudeau to 30 days in jail for directing his supporters to send a throng of emails to the the judge.

Veteran trial lawyer Kimball Anderson says Trudeau shouldn't have been held in contempt because there was no "factual obstruction of the administration of justice and no intent" to crash the judges computer.

But court-appointed lawyer Gary Feinerman -- who was recently nominated for the federal bench in Chicago -- argued Gettleman was forced to crack down hard on Trudeau because a number of the emails were angry and threatening.

The appeals court disagreed with Gettleman's finding that Trudeau had in effect committed contempt in the presence of the judge because the computer was a part of his court.

Trudeau has been fighting a battle with the Federal Trade Commission before Gettleman.

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