A federal appeals court rejected former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle's appeal of his sentence of more than 15 years in prison Thursday for child pornography offenses and illicit sexual conduct with a child.
A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 188-month sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis.
Fogle, 38, pleaded guilty in November to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child. That came four months after FBI agents raided his Zionsville home in an investigation that ended Fogle's lucrative endorsement career with Subway, which started after he lost more than 200 pounds in college, allegedly by eating Subway sandwiches.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek more than 12-1/2 years behind bars, and Fogle's attorney, Ron Elberger, argued Pratt abused her authority by giving him a sentence three years longer than that.
Elberger argued before the appeals court that Pratt was unduly influenced by Fogle's relationship with Russell Taylor, the former director of Fogle's foundation convicted of producing child pornography. Elberger also argued Pratt based its sentence on Fogle's fantasies rather than his actual conduct and that she based the sentence on his acquisition and viewing of pornography depicting children as young as 6 years old.
"In light of the district court's sound exercise of discretion under the disturbing facts of this case, we uphold the above-guidelines sentence as substantively reasonable," said the opinion written by Judge Joel Flaum.
A message seeking comment was left for Elberger at his office.
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 Taylor. Fogle also paid a total of $1.4 million to his 14 victims, with each getting $100,000.
Fogle is serving his sentence at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in suburban Denver.
Taylor, who headed the Indianapolis-based foundation Fogle started to fight childhood obesity, 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 video minors.