Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Pity The Jurors

Kevin Trudeau, pitch or con man
For reasons no one can determine, I have never been called to serve on a jury. I am a registered voter and I have a driver's license, the two ingredients needed to get the notice of the court clerk, but still. No one has ever invited me to sit in judgment.

People tell me how lucky I have been, as they go on to describe their futile attempts to get out of jury duty.

It sounds like something fascinating, to sit in a court room and take in the entire process.

As it turns out, I may be more lucky than I realized.

Kevin Trudeau, the notorious pitchman who made a fortune off questionable scams and then hid his money when the Feds came calling, is finally going to trial in Chicago. His tendency to live the high life while crying poor has not gone unnoticed and the authorities want him to pay his fines or go to jail. Having been ordered, to stop hawking his books, it appears that Mr. Trudeau did not, and this time the Feds are going after him hard. They have not been able to find his money, so they would like to remove him from access to it.

The trial is getting underway, and the jury has been selected. They have been given their homework, to help them understand what Mr. Trudeau is all about, with his pitch about "them" not wanting you to know certain secrets that will cure every illness, including cancer, get you free money, lose weight, and get out of debt.

He pitched his lucrative schemes on television, making a name for himself in the world of the infomercial, and as the jury didn't buy any of his books before, they have to read them now to be better informed.

It sounds like a form of torture, to read such garbage. To be forced to give up precious reading time to devote to a study of hucksterism and falsehoods and conclusions drawn on distorted premises is enough to make anyone fight like mad to get out from serving on the jury.

Because the case hinges on the fact that Mr. Trudeau did not stop selling his dangerous weight loss strategy after the government ordered him to do so, the jury has to read his book about how to loose weight the easy way (500 calories a day will see the pounds fall away, to be sure, in company with all the serious health consequences of starvation) to see why the order was issued in the first place. The book is pure bunk and when sold as fact, that's illegal.

His defense is that we Americans can write whatever we want in a book. Whether or not things described in the book actually worked is not the issue. There was something about a money-back guarantee, wasn't there? Caveat emptor, as the Romans said. No blood, no foul.

If found guilty, Mr. Trudeau could face life in prison for his role in the massive scam. If a jury buys his arguement, that he could write whatever he pleased and then pitch it because in his opinion he was saying the truth, he can stop going through the motions of hiding the millions in profits he made from his books.

And the old adage about not believing everything you read will be proved true, especially when there's a sucker born every minute and there's someone out there looking to fleece every one of them.

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