Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I’ll Miss Kevin Trudeau

You probably have seen Kevin on one of his many TV infomercials peddling everything from coral calcium to weight loss. His antics offer many lessons on persuasion. Of course, the Federal Trade Commission took issue with his claims and imposed a lifetime ban on his TV money making efforts.

Where is Kevin now? He’s serving a ten year sentence for criminal contempt. From the National Law Journal:

Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau failed to make his most important sale on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his 10-year prison sentence for criminal contempt.

The justices, without comment, denied review in Trudeau v. United States, in which the television pitchman and author appealed a three-judge ruling in February by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission imposed a lifetime ban on Trudeau "to shut down an infomercial empire that has misled American consumers for years." A Chicago jury in 2013 convicted him of criminal contempt for violating the 2004 consent order when he promoted his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About."

The appellate panel, led by Judge Diane Sykes, who is on President-elect Donald Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees, rejected Trudeau's arguments that the government violated the Speedy Trial Act, the jury received erroneous instructions on the meaning of "willfulness" in criminal contempt cases and his sentence was disproportionate.

“Kevin Trudeau spent his career hawking miracle cures and self-improvement systems of dubious efficacy,” Sykes wrote. His “bag of tricks,” the judge wrote, “contains something to relieve almost any ailment or burden.”

Sykes said the evidence was "easily sufficient to convict" and that the circuits were split over whether "recklessness" or "knowledge" was the intent standard for criminal contempt.

You can read more here.



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