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Kevin Trudeau writes to ask judge about life after prison: ‘You may remember me’

Prosecutors say the fraudster brazenly defied Chicago’s federal courts for more than a decade. He says he’s getting out of prison soon.

Kevin Trudeau, shown leaving the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago.
Kevin Trudeau, shown leaving the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago.
MICHAEL JARECKI/FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

The email arrived for U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman early on a Friday afternoon. Its author opened with eight simple words:

“This is Kevin Trudeau. You may remember me.”

There is little chance Gettleman forgot. Federal prosecutors accused the fraudster, onetime TV pitchman and author of “The Weight-Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” of brazenly defying Chicago’s federal courts for more than a decade.

But Trudeau, 56, has quietly been serving a 10-year prison sentence for contempt of an order from Gettleman. Now, though the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says Trudeau is not due to go free until May 2022, he wrote in a Jan. 10 email to Gettleman that he “will be released in the near future.”

And he claims he doesn’t want to get into any more trouble.

“I am writing to you to ask some specific questions about what I can and cannot do when I am released,” Trudeau wrote. “As you can imagine, I never want to be held in contempt again.”

He followed the comment with a smiley face.

The email that hit the court’s docket Thursday is classic Trudeau. He quickly brought up Nelson Mandela — quoting the late South African leader — and he told the judge, “when I come back to society, you will see a wonderful happy and peaceful new man, ready for a new life with only gratitude and love in my heart.”

But he also took a shot at the Federal Trade Commission, which sought to refund customers duped into buying Trudeau’s diet book. Promoted as “an easy weight-loss program,” it offered a 500 calorie-a-day diet, off-label injections of a fertility drug, frequent colonics and “extraordinary, lifelong” diet restrictions, the FTC said.

“I understand that the FTC sent checks out to people who bought my book, and many people returned the checks because they did not want a refund as they in fact liked the book they purchased,” Trudeau wrote.

He added, “Everyone who wanted a refund, received a refund as far as I know (and even those who got a refund were still allowed to keep the book they bought as well as the other 3 hard cover books they received with their order as free bonuses).”

Trudeau said he wrote his letter to ask Gettleman specific questions about life after prison. He asked how much money he is still expected to pay the court, how he should expect to make payments — “the receiver took every penny I had, and confiscated and liquidated everything,” he said.

Finally, he asked, “when I am released from prison, am I allowed to earn money or must I still turn over 100% of all the money I would earn to ‘someone,’ and if so who?”

He also asked if he could start a business, earn royalties or speaking fees, or receive “donations and gifts.”

He said his attorneys won’t give him advice, “as I still owe them over $200,000 in legal fees.” Following the advice of counsel didn’t work out too well in the past anyway, he said.

“So I come to you directly,” Trudeau told Gettleman, “as YOU are the ONLY source that can answer these questions, as only you KNOW the answers.”

“Based on all that has happened, I have become quite ‘radioactive,’” Trudeau wrote.

Gettleman has previously called Trudeau a liar. And in 2015, when speaking to lawyers about attempts to collect on judgments against Trudeau, he noted, “we haven’t collected nearly what we should and maybe some day will.”

“And when he finishes serving his time, he’s going to have to come back here and explain that to me,” Gettleman said.

The judge added: “That will be interesting. I’m not sure I’ll be sitting here, but I hope to be.”