TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau offered Thursday to let a federal judge waterboard him, if that’s what it takes to prove he is no longer hiding assets from the government.
“I’m at your mercy,” he said. “I’ll do anything you ask!”
Facing a $37 million judgment, Trudeau has spent the last two and a half months in federal custody, after lawyers for the FTC demonstrated that the infomercial king had been less than candid about the whereabouts of his money.
Trudeau stood before judge Robert Gettleman in an orange jumpsuit and prison-issued glasses, his hair bearing no resemblance to the GQ-style coif he once sported while attired in expensive designer suits. He insisted he has no more funds and that he has nothing left to reveal.
“I certainly have made missteps along the way,” he admitted. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
After a series of almost comical revelations about the lengths to which the former pitchman had gone to conceal his funds, Trudeau insisted that this time, he is telling the truth when he says there is no more money. And he asked what he can do to prove that he is finally telling the entire truth.
“I want this to end, your honor. “I want this to be over.”
“There aren’t any assets that are hidden,” he said. “I want this to end. I want this to be over!” And he insisted that after once boasting of a flamboyant lifestyle which at one time featured homes in Hinsdale and Switzerland, he now is down to his last penny.
“My wife and I are virtually destitute,” he said. “My wife is homeless.”
“We have no income or assets, just some suitcases, some golf clubs, and maybe some clothes.”
After an hour in which attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission insisted they still believe there are hidden monies somewhere in the world, Trudeau offered to be put to the test.
“I would even submit myself to waterboarding,” he said. “Dick Cheney says that’s not torture.”
Indeed, the Trudeau side of the courtroom faces an unusual challenge, trying to satisfy everyone that their client is finally telling the truth.
“Mr. Trudeau has consistently told the court that he does not have further assets to disclose,” said defense attorney Thomas Kirsch. “And the FTC refuses to believe him.”
“I asked repeatedly what Mr. Trudeau could do, to satisfy them, that there are no additional assets.”
For now, that level of trust has still not been achieved. Gettleman ordered Trudeau’s confinement to continue until after he is sentenced in a separate criminal proceeding in March.
“There is a history here,” Gettleman said. “An elaborate scheme of diverting lots and lots of money!”
Gettleman noted that the time the pitchman is now spending behind bars is not being credited toward his eventual criminal sentence.
“He has every incentive to disclose what he hasn’t disclosed.”
For their part, the FTC declared they still aren’t convinced.
“Part of the end game, is that Mr. Trudeau turn over those assets that he controls,” said FTC attorney Jonathan Cohen. “Mr. Trudeau engaged in years of sophisticated asset protection techniques, including the establishment of accounts offshore in the names of others closely associated with him. It is very likely that he has money hidden offshore.”
Trudeau’s attorney Kirsch pleaded with the judge to allow him to come in sooner than March, if he can find a way to prove that there is no money. To that, the judge agreed.
“You know where to find me,” he said.