Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau fighting to stay out of jail
But he won a reprieve Friday when the appeals court extended the appeals process into March -- allowing Trudeau to remain free while lawyers do their thing.
Trudeau was found in criminal contempt earlier this month after exhorting his followers to unload a barrage of emails on U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman. Trudeau later said he merely wanted to show the judge that people had benefited from the book that is the subject of the court case.
The Federal Trade Commission had won a $37 million judgment against Trudeau over allegations he misrepresented the contents of his book The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About in violation of a 2004 court order. Trudeau won an appeal of the judgment against him and Gettleman, of the U.S. District Court in Chicago, reheard the penalty portion of the case.
Now, Trudeau faces a fine even larger than the $37 million one previously lodged against him and says he doesn't intend to pay. The amount of the fine is reportedly equivalent to the amount of money the book made.
"I'm never going to pay it," he said in an earlier interview with WalletPop.
Trudeau's lawyers argued that Gettleman went way too far in the criminal contempt finding, which amounts to a criminal conviction.
"The court incarcerated Mr. Trudeau even though, when Mr. Trudeau learned of his error and before he was found in contempt, he immediately issued an unqualified apology, acknowledged that he had made a mistake, and urged his listeners not to email the court," his attorney Kimball Anderson wrote in the appeal. "...the district court so obviously and egregiously overreacted by throwing Mr. Trudeau in prison."
Trudeau has spent time in prison before. In the early 1990s he was convicted in cases involving credit card fraud (involving his own customers) and larceny for posing as someone else to cash phony checks. He told WalletPop that he had made errors of judgment when he was younger.
Despite that backdrop, Trudeau has garnered a following significant enough to propel one of his books to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list.