Ex-wife of TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau tells Chicago judge he had gold bars, says she's 'very scared' of him
Published in News & Features
CHICAGO — The ex-wife of TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau told a Chicago federal judge Thursday she saw him handling dozens of gold bars over the course of their marriage and that she’s “scared” for her life now that he’s turned against her.
Trudeau is fighting an attempt by federal regulators to have him thrown back in jail for allegedly lying about his assets in an attempt to avoid paying the whopping $37.6 million civil penalty he owes for lying about his controversial weight-loss book.
Nataliya Babenko told U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman that Trudeau had gold bars in a duffel bag when they were stopped by security at O’Hare International Airport years ago, kept stacks of gold bars in boxes in his closet at their Oak Brook mansion, and stashed more bars in a safe at his home office in Zurich.
“I feel like (handling gold bars) was almost like a theme for his life ... like smoking a cigar every day,” Babenko testified during a hotly contested civil contempt hearing, where Gettleman is deciding whether to throw Trudeau back in jail.
Trudeau has claimed in sworn depositions that he gave gold to Babenko during their marriage, which was annulled last year. But when an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission asked her Thursday whether that happened, she answered in a flat tone, “Never.”
She also denied Trudeau’s claim that her father had threatened to kill him. “Never,” she said. “This is outrageous.”
At the end of her testimony, over the strenuous objections of Trudeau’s attorneys, Babenko told the judge that facing her ex-husband in court was “excruciating” because of what he has put her through with his lies.
“So much abuse, so much oppression,” she said, as Trudeau sat at a defense table, looking right at her. “I’m very scared for my life ... from the day he has thrown me into this false narrative.
Babenko is expected to give continued testimony via Zoom at a later date, when Trudeau’s attorneys will get the opportunity to cross-examine her.
Babenko, who was born in Ukraine and now lives in Los Angeles, was a surprise witness in a never-ending legal drama that’s been unfolding in Chicago’s federal courthouse since 2004, when the FTC first filed suit against Trudeau over the outrageous claims he made about what was in his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”
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