CHICAGO — An appeals court in Chicago has ruled that an infomercial pitchman won't have to serve a 30-day jail sentence for getting his supporters to flood a federal judge's e-mail inbox.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Kevin Trudeau's contempt of court conviction on Thursday. It says a judge cannot find a defendant in contempt on the spot and without a hearing unless the offending action occurred in the presence of the judge.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman found Trudeau in contempt after his computer and BlackBerry were jammed with e-mails from Trudeau's supporters. Gettleman argued that a contempt ruling was appropriate because his computer was part of his court.
The judge has overseen a long-running legal battle between Trudeau and the Federal Trade Commission.