The legal team for disgraced ex-Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who was sentenced in November, 2015, to over 15 years in prison on charges of child pornography and sex with minors, filed an appeal for a shorter prison term on February 19. The decision was called “unreasonable” in the appeal, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is asked to throw out Fogle’s sentencing and order a re-sentencing.
“The District Court’s ruling also undermines the notions of trust and fairness that undergird our delicate system of plea bargaining,” the appeal said.
— IndyStar (@indystar) February 20, 2016
Defense attorney Ronald Elberger argued the District Court judge in Indianapolis abused her authority by sentencing Fogle to a longer prison term than federal prosecutors had recommended. Before sentencing, Fogle thought he would receive five to 12.5 years behind bars.
The plea deal Fogle took was that prosecutors agreed to request no more than 12.5 years, while Fogle agreed not to seek less than five years. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced him to 15 years and eight months. However, she could have legally sentenced him up to 50 years, making his prison sentence much shorter than what it could have been.
According to the appeal, “Fogle acknowledges that he has committed inexcusable acts for which he takes full responsibility and is genuinely remorseful.” 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.”
According to CNN Money, the appeal stated “Fogle will now spend three more years away from his children than the government thought appropriate on this record.”
Jared Fogle is married with two young children.
Defense attorney Elberger also argued the judge included allegations in her sentencing about Fogle having conversations with others about possible sexual contact with other minors and possibly collecting pornography of children as young as 6-years-old.
The appeal said that while Fogle viewed child pornography on a thumb drive he received from Taylor, “that does not amount to a contention that Fogle actively sought, collected, and distributed images of 6-year-olds.”
The judge’s characterization of Jared Fogle was brought up in the appeal, and she was quoted as saying, “This defendant is obsessed with child pornography and having sex with minors. He fantasized about it in telephone conversations.” The appeal argued Fogle is “being punished in part for his fantasies… and fantasies are not a crime.”
Fogle’s legal team believe his sexual fantasies shouldn’t have had an impact on his sentencing because he didn’t act upon them.
In July, 2015, federal officials raided Fogle’s home, located in the suburbs of Indianapolis, and seized several computers and DVDs. In August that same year, Fogle pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors. He admitted he paid for sex at New York City hotels with 16- and 17-year-old girls, and also received child pornography produced by Russell Taylor, the former head of his childhood obesity charity.
The Examiner reports that Taylor was arrested on similar child pornography charges and pleaded guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing child pornography. Taylor was sentenced in December, 2015, to 27 years in prison. He used hidden cameras in his home to secretly film 12 minors who were nude, changing clothes, or involved in other activities.
As his sentencing stands now, Jared Fogle will be eligible for parole in 2029. He also was fined $175,000 and paid 14 of his victims a total of $1.4 million in restitution.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) February 19, 2016
When Fogle was an Indiana State student, he started out weighing 425 pounds, but lost over 200 pounds by eating nothing but turkey and veggie subs from Subway twice a day. Once Subway learned of his weight loss, he became their spokesman, with his first commercial airing in 2000. The company quickly cut ties with Fogle once the allegations against him surfaced.
Fogle’s lawyers used his weight loss story in the appeal.
“After suffering the physical, mental, and emotional distress that can come with being morbidly obese, Fogle spent countless hours over the last eighteen years speaking with people around the world about his struggles to get healthy.”
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]