CHICAGO – Jurors deliberated for less than an hour Tuesday before finding Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt in weeklong trial during which prosecutors accused the TV pitchman of lying in infomercials to boost sales of his diet book.
In a rare move, immediately after the verdict Judge Ronald Guzman revoked the 50-year-old’s bail and ordered marshals to take him into custody. White-collar defendants are typically allowed to remain free as they await sentencing.
As the federal judge read out the verdict to a crowded courtroom in Chicago earlier Tuesday, Trudeau sat on the edge of his seat – but otherwise showed little emotion. One of his supporters wept as she left the courtroom minutes later.
Trudeau, who lives in Oak Brook, a Chicago suburb, theoretically could be sentenced to life behind bars for the criminal contempt conviction – though he’s likely to receive a far less severe sentence. No sentencing date was set Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Trudeau violated a federal judge’s 2004 order barring him from making false claims about his book “The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About,” which topped best-seller lists.
In a related civil case, Trudeau has already been ordered to pay a $37 million judgment. The federal judge in that case said he was not convinced by Trudeau’s insistence that he was broke and couldn’t pay. Federal officials said they believe Trudeau is hiding money in secret foreign bank accounts.