(Adds disturbance in court)
By Mary Wisniewski
CHICAGO, March 17 U.S. TV pitchman Kevin
Trudeau, who was convicted last year of criminal contempt for
exaggerating the contents of his weight-loss book in
infomercials, was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison.
Trudeau, 51, who has been held in federal custody since his
conviction in November, will also have five years of supervised
release after serving his sentence, U.S. District Court Judge
Ronald Guzman said.
"He is deceitful to the very core, and that type of conduct
simply cannot stand," Guzman said, noting that Trudeau had been
cited repeatedly for violating court orders over several years.
Trudeau was found guilty last November of violating a 2004
federal court settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that
barred him from misrepresenting the contents of his books in
A jury found he violated the agreement while marketing his
book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You To Know
About," in infomercials made in 2006 and 2007 that aired about
Trudeau told viewers in the infomercials that the "cure" to
obesity was not a diet and did not require exercise, but the
book instructed readers to walk an hour each day and to limit
intake to 500 calories.
Prosecutors, who said Trudeau's actions resulted in over $37
million in losses to consumers, had sought at least a 10-year
sentence, saying in court papers he was motivated by simple
greed and had bilked consumers and defied court orders.
Defense attorneys for Trudeau had asked Guzman to sentence
him to no more than 21 months in prison, based on the criminal
contempt conviction alone and not for fraud, for which they said
he had not been charged.
Trudeau's attorney, Thomas Kirsch, argued the government
could not punish him for the content of the book and the amount
of the fraud to the individual was small because they didn't
wipe out anyone's life savings, attorney Thomas Kirsch said on
Dressed in an orange jump suit, Trudeau said prison life had
caused him to reform and apologized to his family, prosecutors
and the people who had bought his books in a lengthy statement
before Guzman leveled his sentence.
"I have absolutely learned a life-changing lesson from all
of this," Trudeau said.
The courtroom was packed with Trudeau supporters. One, Ed
Foreman, 80, a motivational speaker from Dallas who had been a
congressman for Texas and New Mexico, tried twice to make a
statement in Trudeau's support during the hearing.
When Foreman failed to respond to the judge's order to be
quiet, he was lifted up by his arms and legs and carried out of
the courtroom by federal marshals.
Foreman was cited for creating a disturbance, which will
cost him $175, according to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Scott Malone, Andrea
Ricci and James Dalgleish)