FTC (and Receiver) protest Kevin Trudeau's protests, hope October 16 hearing will end up with Katie in a cage
For those who had hopes that the U.S. government shutdown has continued to be totally good news for serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, yesterday's filings by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) might be interpreted as not-so-good news. Here's the link, complete with exhibits. But I have learned to take nothing for granted, and even though there is some new-ish info (or elaboration on older info) in these documents, not to mention pics of those now-famous $6,400 men's cufflinks that Katie says his wife bought for herself with her own moneys (though he'd previously disclaimed knowledge of her jewelry purchases), I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude.
The new documents were duly reported by NBC5 Chicago, which featured the Trudeau family jewels in a video. The reporter wrote that Monday's filings came as a surprise because it was assumed the case was on hold due to the shutdown. Well, I assume nothing, and frankly, it didn't come as much of a surprise to me in light of the docs that had immediately preceded it, to wit:
- The FTC's September 30 statement and the receiver's October 4 statement about the need to put Kevin Trudeau in jail NOW.
- Katie's lawyers' unsurprising October 11 response that such a step is both unnecessary and illegal.
I've written about the apparent effects of the government shutdown on the progress, or lack thereof, of Trudeau's court cases. Mostly I think that effect has been to generate a small flurry of momentarily-optimistic-for-Katie content from the mainstream media ("Pitchman free... for now!"), and throwaway blog fodder for my Whirled (see link immediately above). Shutdown or not, though, where there's a will there's a way, and it seems that the FTC is particularly willful right now. It appears that the hearing scheduled for tomorrow, October 16, at 1:30 PM, will indeed take place. Since there have already been at least two delays due to the shutdown, it looks to me as if the Feds are "Fed" up and have either obtained emergency funding to pay their attorneys (maybe from that $2 mil escrow account?), or they are just going ahead and working the case with the understanding that they will get paid whenever.
The answer to the question of why and how they are going ahead may lie in the short documents about "filing for leave to file" (they lost me with that second "file"), which were included in the October 14 docs. Here's that link again (see Documents 767-0 and 768). I don't have the trained legal mind to figure it all out. Maybe you can put the pieces together.
Some folks are speculating that if Kevin doesn't totally fly the coop while he still might have a reasonable chance of doing so (albeit illegally at this point), then jail is inevitable. But I am still not so sure about the inevitability of jail even if he doesn't take flight. In the end, once again, it depends on Judge Gettleman. The judge has delivered so many ultimatums to Katie already, and for many weeks it seems he has had more than enough evidence to incarcerate him under the terms of Judge Gettleman's own previous orders. But he hasn't. Do the October 14 filings represent what will be the last straw? I won't try to predict that. What I can predict with more than reasonable accuracy, judging from repeated past performances, are the reactions from various pro- and anti-KT factions if Katie gets thrown in jail... and if he doesn't.
If he does get thrown in jail, we will see:
- The usual high-fives and "We did it!" declarations among the self-proclaimed "GIN destroyers" on Facebook, with plenty of accolades for the "kid" who "singlehandedly brought down the greatest con man of our time." Yawn.
- Grumbling among the KT fans about government tyranny and the bogus case the FTC has built against KT, "all for saying a diet is easy!" Double yawn.
- Grumbling among the "GIN destroyers" about how the judge is corrupt or cowardly or gay-with-the-hots-for-Katie, accompanied by the reassurance that Judge Guzman, who is presiding over the criminal trial, will for sure have the gonads to throw Katie in the clink once the jury finds him guilty as sin for criminal contempt. And they will add that once he's in prison for criminal contempt there will be more charges from the IRS and FBI and the US Postal Service and on and on, and he will spend the rest of his life in prison, and it will be -- at last! -- a neat and tidy Hollywood ending for the "kid" who singlehandedly set the whole thing in motion (never mind that the kid was still in diapers... or actually not even born yet... when the Feds first turned their Big Eye on Katie).
- High-fives among the KT fans, and jubilant
declarations that their hero will for sure be in
Washington DC in a few days (the GIN Family Reunion is
set for October 18-20), and that he has once again used
his mighty magickal mind powers (or his influence witht
the GIN Council) to stay his incarceration indefinitely,
and that ultimately, right will prevail and the court
cases will all be tossed out, and The King will return in
triumph to his rightful place on the throne.
Then it was qualified by the first sentence in the body of the email, which read: "This is the headline we hope to see very soon." Apart from the subject line, the missive was almost identical to the one that was sent out to promote KT's latest begging-for-funds video nearly a month ago. That original message also said he only had one week to raise $400k. I wrote about it here last month.
As usual, my pal Tim (whom the "GIN destroyers" and a few other cowards so love to hate), offered a plausible scenario re the fund solicitation:
I have a feeling that the lawyers have been holding a few million in escrow somewhere for kt, whatever doesn't go towards legal fees gets returned when the case is over. Very few lawyers will work without money up front, especially for a client who is a known scammer who also has significant jail time hanging over his head. This is just another money grab by friends of kt.In another thread Tim wrote:
Kevin has effectively hidden the bulk of his money, the government knows that it can't attach it or they would have. The best they can do is threaten and cajole in hopes he gives up and pays the bill. The worst thing they can do is lock kt up, and likely for less than a year. It seems that kt is willing to get locked up in order to keep his money hidden. Another reason the delay helps the ftc is that they don't want to lock him up, if he calls their bluff and goes to jail, he wins and they have wasted millions for nothing. They are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg so without kt's cooperation they get nothing.Tim's second comment suggests more interesting -- and plausible -- plot twists for a possible Hollywood movie than the silly stories of a heroic "kid" single-handedly bringing down a conman.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow's hearing may or may not yield significant results. At this point, I think we may need to worry more about that default thing that's coming up on the 17th unless the dolts in DC can really strike a deal.
PS added later, 15 October 2013: More court documents were filed today. They include confirmation that the hearing tomorrow (Oct. 16) will go forth as scheduled: no big surprise there. There is also more from the receiver re throwing Katie in jail. And Kevin's lawyers came back with another statement of opposition to all of the above. Here's a link.
One of the main points of Katie's Oct.15 statement of opposition was that the October 14 and 15 statements from the FTC and receiver introduced some new information, with the intention that it be discussed at the October 16 hearing. Trudeau's lawyers said that the FTC and receiver were out of order to do so, particularly since they did it so close to the hearing -- giving KT's lawyers almost no time to respond. I wouldn't be surprised if Katie's attorney files an emergency request for another last-minute continuance. Lacking that, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see still more documents filed between now Wednesday afternoon, as all parties seem to want to get the last word in before the actual hearing.
One item of interest that has been causing some buzz was actually a footnote in one of the October 14 documents (Document 767-1, page 7, footnote 13). This was concerning a retired Texas attorney, W.P. Barlow, to whom GIN FDN paid $129,692.34 this year. Actually the related correspondence was between Mr. Barlow and Neil Sant, although I'm sure that anything Mr. Barlow did was with Katie's approval. However, Sant may have been taking liberties that hurt Trudeau more than helped him. Looking at the email correspondence, it seems like the whole effort was lame at best, even if it wasn't technically illegal.
At any rate, although Mr. Barlow's name and the dollar figure he was paid had actually appeared previously -- on the Receiver's Supplemental Report of Sept. 16 (Document 750-1, page 26 -- screen shot below) -- apparently the receiver's subsequent digging uncovered the fact that Mr. Barlow was paid to speak to people who might possibly be able to influence the FTC to back off on the litigation against Katie.
|Click to enlarge. |
Mr. W.P. Barlow, a retired lawyer who was paid to
try to get some officials to lobby the FTC
on Kevin Trudeau's behalf, was first mentioned on
the Receiver's Supplemental Report of September 16, 2013.
The correspondence from Mr. Barlow to Neil Sant is part of the October 14 exhibits -- specifically, Document 767-2, pp. 86-87. Here's that link again. You can scroll down and read the emails yourself.
[Note: I've modified this a little since I originally published it, because I really am trying to make sense of these issues. ~ CC] I realize that technically what Mr. Barlow was doing could have been construed as attorney misconduct, had he actually been acting as one of Trudeau's attorneys, and if it could have been determined that he was trying to improperly influence a government agency or official. But from all indications he wasn't acting as Trudeau's attorney, and in fact he is described by the FTC as a retired attorney. And again, his interaction seemed to be primarily with Neil Sant -- presumably with Trudeau's blessings, but I don't know the details of the situation, and I don't think anyone else who has only read the court documents knows either. So it seems that it's an exaggeration at best to say that Trudeau was caught trying to bribe the FTC. However, I think many of us can agree that it's sort of humorous that once again Kevin, or someone working on his behalf, would try to game the very institutions that he criticizes as being so corrupt because they allow themselves to be gamed.
Another item I noticed in the October 14 batch-o-docs was a footnote on page 6 of Document 767-1. The FTC is discussing Katie's lies about his gold purchases (it will come as no surprise that he claimed that his wife bought the gold). Footnote 11 on that page refers to Peter Ragnar by Ragnar's real name, Peter Lundell. It mentions that GLM (Golden Lion Mint) managers Peter Lundell and Tony Balistreri have a "close relationship" with Katie. That is not the first time those guys have come up in the court docs, of course...
I wonder if Lundell/Ragnar really did separate from Golden Lyin' -- or if he is just distancing himself till all of this blows over.
PS added October 16: This just in... Katie may be headed back to the cage for a while, but not right away.