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TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau sentenced to 10 years in prison

Infomercial pitchman KevTrudeau talks reporters after leaving Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown Chicago October 2013.  |  Sun-Times file photo

Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau talks to reporters after leaving the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago in October 2013. | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: April 19, 2014 6:13AM

Informercial king Kevin Trudeau pleaded for a light sentence in federal court Monday, claiming he had undergone a “personal transformation” while imprisoned for the last four months since his contempt conviction.

But U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman wasn’t buying it and gave Trudeau the sentence prosecutors had asked for: 10 years.

“He’s deceitful to the very core. This type of conduct simply cannot stand,” said Guzman as he handed down the sentence.

In sentencing filings, prosecutors noted his “brazen defiance” of federal courts in Chicago for more than a decade, a 30-year pattern of “fraud and deceit” and a loss of more than $37 million by the consumers who bought his bogus diet book.

Trudeau repeatedly refused to pay a penny of a $37 million court-imposed fine, crying poverty, while appearing to live a lavish lifestyle.

The self-improvement guru addressed the court wearing an orange jumpsuit and slippers instead of the sharp suit of his informercials. He said he spent hours a day “reading positive, uplifting, inspirational self-improvement books” and said he has completed a home-study course on personal values and integrity.

“I have been stripped of all ego, arrogance, defiance and pride and for this I am very thankful, as it has made me a better person,” he told the judge. Trudeau also vowed that if he ever does another informercial, “I promise no embellishment, no puffery.”

The judge, however, noted a litany of previous fraud and contempt charges and convictions cited by prosecutors. “That doesn’t happen by accident. That doesn’t happen to an ordinary honest person,” Guzman said.

“He has treated federal court orders as if they were merely suggestions. ... He has blatantly rejected many opportunities to change his conduct and to show true remorse, not by fancy speeches, but by his actions,” the judge said of Trudeau.

The TV pitchman was expressionless as the sentence was given, but later smiled, shook hands with his attorneys and waved to friends in the courtroom, and he was escorted out.

Trudeau’s attorney, Tom Kirsch, said he was grateful the judge imposed a sentence 50 percent lower then the high end of the recommended sentencing range in the pre-sentence report. After conferring with Trudeau, Kirsch said he would appeal both the conviction and sentence.

The courtroom was packed with Trudeau’s supporters. During arguments, one of them, a former congressman from Texas, tried to address the judge. The judge told him to sit down, and he did, but later on he spoke out again and was carried out by federal marshals. Ed Foreman, 80, of Dallas, got a $175 ticket, according to Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.


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