Judge Denies Motion to Acquit TV Pitchman Trudeau

Infomercial king claimed evidence leading to his November conviction was insufficient

By Phil Rogers
|  Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014  |  Updated 12:25 PM CDT
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Unit 5 Investigates: Kevin Trudeau

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Jury Finds Kevin Trudeau Guilty of Contempt

A jury found TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt of court Tuesday for willfully violating a court order by misrepresenting his book in a series of infomercials.

Unit 5 Investigates: Kevin Trudeau

Kevin Trudeau was once a very prominent pitchman, but now this west suburban salesman may go to jail if he doesn't pay the millions the government say he owes for deceiving his customers. NBC 5 Investigates Phil Rogers reports.
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Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau suffered another blow in Federal Court in Chicago Wednesday morning as Judge Ronald Guzman refused Trudeau’s motion to be acquitted on contempt charges.

Swimming in legal problems, Trudeau was convicted of criminal contempt last November in connection with his book, "The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You To Know About." In infomercials promoting his book, Trudeau claimed his weight loss system was not a diet, did not involve portion control or calorie counting, could be done at home, and involved a "miracle all-natural substance" which users could get anywhere. He further stated, "when you’re done…you can eat whatever you want and you don’t gain the weight back."

The evidence suggested otherwise.

Specifically, the government alleged that contrary to Trudeau’s claims, the book actually contained instructions for a difficult diet which involved eating only 500 calories a day from a list of restricted foods and which required daily doctor’s appointments and daily injections of a hormone called hCG. That hormone is only available by prescription and has not been approved for weight loss by the FDA.

A jury convicted Trudeau on criminal contempt charges, but he filed a motion for acquittal, claiming the evidence had been insufficient.

Judge Ronald Guzman ruled Wednesday "there was more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the government had met its burden of proof." Guzman wrote that jurors were given a copy of a 2004 consent order prohibiting Trudeau from making infomercials which misrepresent the content of his books.

The judge noted that Trudeau signed the order, " effectively scotching any argument that he was ignorant of its terms." He also wrote that jurors watched the infomercials, "hearing from the defendant’s own mouth the words he used to describe the content of his book."

"All of this evidence supports the jury’s conclusion that defendant made blatantly false and misleading statements in the infomercials about the content of his book," Guzman said. "Defendant’s speech patterns, manner of delivery, and eagerness to engage the audience all suggest that he understood fully what he was doing."

Guzman suggested that Trudeau anticipated a marketing bonanza from the infomercials. The evidence showed that he sold certain assets to ITV, the company that produced and marketed the commercials, in exchange for a promise to pay him $121 million.
 

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