Some things you learn the hard way. Ask infomercial star Kevin Trudeau, who tried to get off the hook in a civil contempt proceeding by exhorting supporters to e-mail the court and explain “how I have changed your life for the better.”

His backers complied by sending more than 300 messages, clogging the inbox and crashing the computer of Chicago federal Judge Robert Gettleman. On Wednesday, Gettleman held Trudeau in criminal contempt and sentenced him to 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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