(NEW YORK) -- Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau, who got rich promoting what he claims are natural cures for just about every medical condition, has finally met a malady no amount of echinacea is going to remedy: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's decision that Trudeau must pay a $37.6 million fine for not being honest with consumers.
Trudeau, in an interview with ABC News, says he intends to fight on to defend his First Amendment right to speak and write freely, taking his appeal, if necessary, to the Supreme Court. His only "crime," he says, is telling truths that challenge big pharma and other entrenched interests.
The $37 million fine is the amount courts and the Federal Trade Commission say consumers were defrauded by what they term deceptive infomercials used by Trudeau to promote his book The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About.
Trudeau is also is author of Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About, Free Money 'They' Don't Want You to Know About, and other titles, some of which have been best-sellers.
The fine originally was levied on him in 2009 by U.S. district court Judge Robert Gettleman, who found Trudeau to be in violation of a prohibition against his misrepresenting the content of his books in his infomercials. Trudeau's infomercials, wrote Gettleman, had "falsely and intentionally led thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of consumers to believe that the Weight Loss Book would describe an 'easy,' 'simple' protocol that, once 'finished,' would allow the consumer to 'eat anything' he or she wants."
The FTC's war with Trudeau began 1998, when Trudeau was charged with making what a commission statement calls, "false and misleading claims in infomercials for products he claimed could cause significant weight loss and cure addictions to heroin, alcohol, and cigarettes, and enable users to achieve a photographic memory." Five years later, the FTC charged him with falsely claiming in infomercials that Coral Calcium Supreme could cure cancer.
Trudeau's response consistently has been that he is being persecuted by the government, by the pharmaceutical industry and others for daring to tell the truth -- for example, that you don't need to spend money on drugs to cure or prevent disease; you can accomplish the same thing with herbs and foods and lifestyle changes.
Trudeau says he will ask for his appeal to be heard next "en banc" by the court, meaning by all its judges at once. "If I don't get an appropriate outcome, then absolutely I'm taking it to the Supreme Court," he says. A final legal resolution, he thinks, may not come for years.
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