You may remember Kevin Trudeau from such late-night infomercials as Free Money, Mega Memory System, and Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About.
Now, the man dubbed the “infomercial king” by Chicago media, who has been in a cat-and-mouse game with the FTC for years — for allegedly making bogus claims about everything from weight loss to cures for debt, cancer, and heroin addiction — may be headed to jail after asking supporters to bombard a federal judge with e-mails.
Trudeau last week put up a plea on his Web site last week telling fans “Kevin needs your voice,” and listing the judge’s e-mail address, according to the Chicago Tribune.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman was not amused when his inbox was subsequently clogged with hundreds of testimonials about the wonders of Trudeau’s methods (his “Natural Cures” series has sold millions of books). Some of the e-mails were “harassing, threatening and interfering,” the judge said, according to the Sun-Times.
The judge found Trudeau in contempt of court and ordered him to prison for 30 days. He is scheduled to report to authorities later today. Trudeau has posted an apology on his blog: “It was wrong to make that request. Please do not under any circumstances communicate with the court or Judge Gettleman.”
Gettleman is presiding over a long-running civil case between Trudeau and the Federal Trade Commission. In 2004, Trudeau agreed to pay the FTC $2 million to settle charges that he claimed a coral calcium product could cure cancer.
The judge imposed a three-year infomercial ban on Trudeau in 2007 after he was found to have violated an injunction not to misrepresent the contents of his books. Gettleman ruled at the time that Trudeau made a false claims when he said his “Weight Loss Cure” methods were “easy” and consumers could “eat whatever they want.”
The three-year ban and a later $37 million fine were later thrown out by an appeals court, and revised punishment has not been settled on, Reuters reports.
If Trudeau’s last-minute appeal of the 30-day prison sentence fails, it will be at least the second time he’s been incarcerated. In the early 1990s, he spent nearly two years in prison for credit card fraud.
On a pre-recorded edition of his radio show today, Trudeau painted himself as a martyr. “I’ve repeatedly said the government wants to put me in jail and wants to silence me,” he said.
The run-in with the government seems to have made Trudeau increasingly political. He recently said on Twitter, “Obama has used false and misleading advertising, why isn’t he getting sued?” And later: “Obama Declares He Will Rule by Authoritarian Decree.”
While Trudeau’s exact place on the ideological spectrum is difficult to pin down (he may be floating somewhere above it), he has made allies among black helicopter conspiracy types.
His blog recommends the critically acclaimed agribusiness documentary Food, Inc. and at the same time offers advice on “what to do before/after a forced vaccination.”
In one post, Trudeau promises to explain “how the government is using the mind as its biggest weapon and how the CIA is embedded within every aspect of your life!”
In November, he even appeared for an extended interview with “anti-New World Order” radio host Alex Jones. Here’s a bit of that segment, in which Trudeau explains how he became “government enemy No. 1”: