7th Circuit throws out infomercial pitchman’s jail sentence
CHICAGO — A federal appeals court says infomercial pitchman and author Kevin Trudeau won’t have to serve a 30-day jail sentence for getting his supporters to flood a federal judge’s computer with e-mails.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in FTC v. Trudeau, threw out Trudeau’s contempt of court conviction yesterday. The three-judge panel said the judge shouldn’t have found Trudeau guilty on the spot without giving him a hearing because the act didn’t take place in the presence of the court.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman had found Trudeau in direct criminal contempt after his computer and BlackBerry were both jammed with e-mails from Trudeau’s supporters.
The appeals court disagreed with Gettleman’s finding that Trudeau had in effect committed contempt in the presence of the judge because the computer was a part of his court.
Trudeau has been fighting a battle with the Federal Trade Commission before Gettleman.