INDIANAPOLIS – Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle asked a federal appeals court on Friday to shorten the more than 15-year prison sentence he received for possessing child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls.
Fogle’s attorney argued that that the District Court judge in Indianapolis abused her authority by giving Fogle a sentence three years longer than the maximum term prosecutors agreed to pursue as part of his plea deal.
Fogle pleaded guilty in November to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child. As part of his plea deal, he agreed not to seek a sentence of less than five years in prison and prosecutors agreed not to push for more than 12 1/2 years behind bars.
The appeal calls District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s decision “unreasonable,” along with asking the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to throw out the prison term and order resentencing.
“The District Court’s ruling also undermines the notions of trust and fairness that undergird our delicate system of plea bargaining,” Fogle’s appeal said.
U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Tim Horty declined to comment on Fogle’s appeal.
Fogle admitted that he paid for sex at New York City hotels with girls who were 16 or 17 years old and that he had received some child pornography produced by the one-time head of his anti-obesity charity, Russell Taylor. Fogle also paid a total of $1.4 million to his 14 victims, with each getting $100,000.
Taylor was sentenced in December to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing child pornography.
Prosecutors say Taylor used hidden cameras in his Indianapolis-area homes to secretly film 12 minors who were nude, changing clothes, or engaged in other activities.
Defence attorney Ronald Elberger argues that in determining Fogle’s 188-month sentence the judge wrongly considered allegations for which he didn’t face criminal charges, including discussions he had with others about possible sexual contact with other minors and collecting pornography of children as young as 6 years old.
The appeal maintains that the child pornography was on a thumb drive that Fogle received from Taylor and viewed, “but that does not amount to a contention that Fogle actively sought, collected and distributed images of six-year-olds.”
Elberger wrote that the judge abused her discretion by imposing a sentence beyond the federal sentencing guidelines of 135 to 160 months for Fogle’s offences.
“Fogle acknowledges that he has committed inexcusable acts for which he takes full responsibility and is genuinely remorseful,” the appeal said. Prosecutors “knew everything the District Court knew and still agreed to a below-guidelines sentence that adequately reflected the severity of the crimes to which Fogle pleaded.”