INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is due to formally plead guilty and be sentenced on charges of having traded in child pornography and paid for sex with minors. Here are some questions and answers the judge will consider during Thursday’s hearing in federal court in Indianapolis:
Fogle agreed in August to plead guilty to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child porn. On Thursday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt is expected to formally accept his guilty plea before listening to witnesses testify and sentencing Fogle.
WHAT ARE THE ALLEGATIONS?
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In a plea agreement with prosecutors filed in August, Fogle admitted to having received photos and videos of minors who were nude, changing clothes or engaged in other activities from Russell Taylor. Taylor had run Fogle’s nonprofit foundation and allegedly used hidden cameras to capture the images in Taylor’s Indianapolis-area homes. Prosecutors say Fogle got photos or videos of eight of Taylor’s 12 alleged victims, but that all 12 are considered Fogle’s victims because he didn’t do anything to stop Taylor. Fogle has also admitted to having paid for sex with two girls under age 18 at New York City hotels.
WHAT’S FOGLE’S POSSIBLE SENTENCE?
Fogle’s lawyers are seeking a five-year prison term, which is the minimum mandatory sentence he faces under the charges he’s agreed to plead guilty to. Prosecutors are seeking a 12½-year term, which was the most they agreed to seek under Fogle’s plea deal, and a lifetime of post-release supervision. But federal judges have wide discretion, and Pratt could disregard the prosecution’s recommendation and sentence Fogle to up to 50 years in prison on the two counts.
WHAT WILL THE JUDGE CONSIDER?
Pratt will consider the sentencing memorandums that prosecutors and Fogle’s attorneys filed outlining their reasoning for their recommended sentences for Fogle, who has no prior criminal record. She also will consider a confidential pre-sentencing report compiled by federal probation officials that may contain more detailed information on the investigation into Fogle, his likelihood of re-offending and whether he might respond to treatment for “hypersexuality and alcohol abuse/dependence,” according to his attorneys.
Fogle’s attorneys are expected to call a psychiatrist and a psychologist to testify Thursday about the “medical issues” the 38-year-old father of two faces. Several victim impact statements have also been filed under seal for the judge to review. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said some of Fogle’s victims will be watching Thursday’s hearing from a secure room in the courthouse and any of them can testify.
WILL FOGLE’S RESTITUTION TO VICTIMS LEAD TO A SHORTER SENTENCE?
Fogle agreed to pay a total of $1.4 million to his 14 victims, with each getting $100,000. As of last week, 11 of those victims had received their restitution and prosecutors said the three others were expected to have arrangements in place to be paid by the time of Fogle’s sentencing hearing.
Indiana University law professor Shawn Boyne said Fogle’s ability to pay a large sum of restitution will help “to some extent alleviate the harm” he’s caused his victims. But Boyne said she doesn’t think Fogle’s ability, as a wealthy man, to pay such a large amount of restitution will lead to a shorter sentence. She said Fogle’s wealth — like those of other well-heeled defendants — allows him to retain top private attorneys, thereby boosting “the quality and the depth of the arguments his attorneys make on his behalf.” Boyne said those attorneys can also hire expert witnesses to evaluate Mr. Fogle and provide court testimony — “something that’s not available to all” defendants.
WHERE WILL HE SERVE HIS PRISON TIME?
Fogle can ask the judge to request a specific federal prison where he will serve his time and judges often agree to make that request. But the Federal Bureau of Prisons will make the final decision. Among the factors prison officials can consider is whether a prison is adequately equipped to protect a celebrity — particularly one convicted of sex crimes. Boyne said that where an inmate serves his or her sentence is usually based on the nature of the offense and criminal history. She said the prison system will consider Fogle’s celebrity status and the nature of his sex-crimes because anyone facing prison time for “an offense of this nature typically experiences a rougher time, a more difficult time in prison because they’re singled out by other inmates.”
WHAT’S HIS JUDGE’S REPUTATION?
Pratt is relatively new to the federal bench, having served in her current post for about five years. Indianapolis-based criminal defense attorney John Tompkins said federal sentencing statistics show that Pratt more consistently metes out punishments on the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines than other judges in the Southern District of Indiana. “I don’t know if that makes her tougher or not. It might just be the kind of cases she ends up sentencing on,” he said.