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Judge compares Trudeau to jailed robber with a buried treasure

KevTrudeau Dirksen Building 2010.  |  Sun-Times files

Kevin Trudeau at the Dirksen Building in 2010. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: January 7, 2014 6:29AM

His hair — until recently a jet-black confection, expertly-coiffed at a Vidal Sassoon salon — was unkempt and lank with prison shampoo.

His voice — which he used to beguile TV shoppers out of millions with his fraudulent claims of an “easy” miracle weight loss cure — had developed a desperate, rasping edge.

And his pleading — dramatic at the quietest of times — plumbed new depths of melodrama.

But convicted liar and TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau’s despairing claim that he “may never see my parents alive again” failed to move a federal judge, who on Thursday rejected the Oak Brook man’s latest bid for freedom in the harshest terms yet.

Instead, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman compared Trudeau to a jailed bank robber with a stash of buried treasure.

Trudeau’s decision to hide his wealth in a complicated web of overseas businesses and accounts to avoid paying a $38 million court-imposed fine for violating a court order when he lied in his TV ads was “like burying loot from a heist... you wait your sentence out then go dig up the loot,” said Gettleman, who previously jailed Trudeau in an attempt to force him to reveal where the cash is.

Trudeau and his attorneys insist he’s broke. But the Federal Trade Commission and an accountant appointed to find his hidden money say they keep finding new assets.

Since Trudeau’s last appearance in court, the accountants say they’ve learned of “very significant” gambling activity in Trudeau’s name at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and of a new account held in his wife’s name.

Trudeau, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, told the judge he’d owned up to the MGM Grand Account when he was interrogated “without food and water for many hours.”

He said he can’t control his wife or the former colleagues who now run his overseas businesses — a claim Gettleman isn’t buying.

Even if he convinces the judge he’s telling the truth, he still faces likely prison time for a separate criminal contempt conviction connected to his fraudulent diet book infomercials.

The increasingly absurd case, which has dragged on for more than a decade, prompted a philosophical Gettleman on Thursday to comment that he was still “Waiting for Trudeau.”

“Now, I’m quoting Beckett,” he said, referring to “Waiting for Godot,” the classic play in which two men talk around in circles but nothing much happens.


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