published Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

TV pitchman pleads for mercy, jailed anyway

A federal judge rejected an impassioned plea from a television pitchman for his freedom on Tuesday, ordering U.S. Marshals to lock up Kevin Trudeau for failing to pay a $37 million civil judgment.

The visibly exasperated judge had already ordered that Trudeau be jailed during a hearing in Chicago when Trudeau stood up and asked if he could address the court. The Federal Trade Commission won the judgment after accusing Trudeau of hoodwinking viewers about his weight-loss books.

"There are no more assets to turn over, your honor," the 50-year-old Trudeau insisted during a 10-minute plea, at times striking a note of desperation. "I'm going to be incarcerated ... and I don't know what to do."

Judge Robert Gettleman seemed unimpressed.

"Thank you, Mr. Trudeau," he said flatly. "My order stands."

The judge then directed two marshals to lead Trudeau out of the courtroom and take him to a nearby jail.

Gettleman, like FTC lawyers, balked at Trudeau's insistence that he is penniless — noting that he recently spent hundreds of dollars on cigars and a haircut.

On Tuesday, Gettleman added that he has seen no sign Trudeau was cooperating to verify where he does and doesn't have assets.

"I haven't seen any new information, only resistance," Gettleman said. "This has to end."

The judge said the only way Trudeau would get the message "is to incarcerate him."

Gettleman didn't say how long Trudeau would have to remain behind bars. It will be until at least Thursday, when there's another status hearing scheduled in the case, Gettleman said.

The judge sent Trudeau to jail for one night last month, warning him at the time that he'd be sent back if he wasn't more forthcoming.

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