Sept. 19, 2013— -- Former infomercial king Kevin Trudeau was released from jail today after spending one night in federal custody in Chicago.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman Wednesday, Trudeau was found in contempt for violation of an asset freeze by transferring nearly $20,000 from an Australian account and for using a debit card tied to that account to buy things beyond the ordinary and necessary living expense he is permitted under a court order.
The specific expenditures from the Australian account that led to the contempt finding included $894 at a liquor store, $359 for two haircuts at Vidal Sassoon, $1,057 for meats ordered online and $920 on cigars. There was also an $18,642 transfer from the Australian account that was paid to a lawyer who worked on Trudeau's taxes, which happened without the judge's approval.
Trudeau told the judge Wednesday that he spent the money because he had no cash or credit cards and hadn't yet received his monthly allowance from the receiver, Robb Evans and Associates, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that was appointed by the court in August to marshal assets and take control over Trudeau's businesses.
Trudeau and his attorneys argued Wednesday for more time to prove his cooperation, and offered to pay back any money spent on things the judge deemed inappropriate expenditures.
But Gettleman wasn't convinced and ordered Trudeau to report to the Metropolitan Correctional Center and to remain in federal custody.
But Trudeau, who appeared in court today wearing a short-sleeve orange jumpsuit, with slip-on orange sneakers, pleaded for the judge to believe him and pledged once again to be "100 percent" cooperative.
"I am penniless. I am homeless. I surrender. I am at your mercy," Trudeau told the court. "I will do anything you ask."
After hearing his pleas, Judge Gettleman said he is giving the controversial TV pitchman another week to somehow convince him that Trudeau is truthfully disclosing his assets, and granted Trudeau his freedom. Gettleman admonished him to cooperate fully or else he would be back in court "wearing the same color you are now."
Trudeau's next court appearance is scheduled for next week.
Trudeau had previously been found in contempt in July for failing to pay a $37.6 million sanction against him for deceptive marketing. Then, in August, Judge Gettleman sided with the Federal Trade Commission in granting a court-appointed receiver broad authority.
Trudeau met with the receiver and the FTC Wednesday night in the visiting area of the correctional center for a hastily scheduled interview that spanned about three hours. In reporting the results of that interview to the judge this morning, both the receiver and the FTC expressed concerns about Trudeau's vague recollections and sketchy memory.
The receiver, Kenton Johnson, the executive vice president of Robb Evans and Associates, told the court that he had "concerns about some of the content we received" from Trudeau. He said the pitchman had a "consistent failure of memory" and was unable in most cases to provide specific detail in answers to questions.
Although Johnson stopped short of saying Trudeau is being dishonest, he told the judge he found his lack of detail and memory "questionable and troubling."