Jared Fogle associate Russell Taylor asks court to review sentence, claims inadequate defense
An associate of disgraced former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle wants a judge to take a closer look at his case and modify his sentence.
Russell Taylor is currently serving a 27-year sentence on child pornography charges. He claims his attorneys provided inadequate counsel and challenged the validity of the search warrant that led to key evidence against him.
He filed a motion Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana asking for the review.
Taylor said poor representation led him to forge an agreement in which he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of producing child pornography and one count of distributing child pornography. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not to seek a prison sentence greater than 35 years.
A judge sentenced him on Dec. 10, 2015. The case led to the investigation of Jared Fogle, Taylor’s friend. Taylor also ran Fogle’s Jared Foundation.
Taylor’s motion was filed by Zachary Newland of Mansfield, Texas.
The motion claims some sexually explicit text messages from Taylor were coerced by a retired Indianapolis police officer as part of a “personal vendetta” against Taylor. Taylor claimed he and the officer engaged in a confrontation in 2014 in which the man, who was nude, waved a firearm at Taylor as was “seemingly under the influence of illegal drugs.”
The motion said Taylor’s counsel failed to investigate different defenses before Taylor signed his plea agreement and alleged that defense lawyers hadn’t even examined all of the evidence related to the case.
The motion also argued that some of the evidence used against Taylor, including nanny-cam video taken of family members, didn’t constitute child pornography. Taylor wasn’t informed that the footage was being used as evidence against him, court documents said, and his attorneys didn’t take enough time to review the evidence and plea deal before advising Taylor to sign it.
“Taylor did not even know that (his relatives) were included in the felony Information he pled guilty to until the trial judge discussed the matter during Taylor’s sentencing,” according to the motion. The motion argued that the footage for those counts was not sexually explicit in nature.
“If trial counsel had adequately investigated the evidence presented against Taylor and researched the applicable law, then Taylor would not have pled guilty to counts 9 through 11 of the judgment,” the motion said.
Law expert Jack Crawford isn’t involved in this case, but said the sentencing reduction is unlikely.
“I think he’s going to be hard pressed to get any leniency from the federal district court judge,” Crawford said.
Crawford also acknowledged the fact that Taylor pled guilty to the charges and already received a lesser sentence. According to sentencing guidelines, Taylor could have received 30 to 35 years and instead, got 27. The expert added the Fogle and Taylor saga is not complete. Crawford said The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated after Taylor’s sentencing, the investigation is ongoing.
Fogle’s ex-wife also is suing Subway, claiming they knew about Fogle’s sexual attraction to children and didn’t do anything about it.
“This case is not over by a long shot. We’re going to be hearing about this for many years to come,” said Crawford.
Taylor has asked the court to hear the motion. Fogle, meantime, is serving more than 15 years in his child exploitation case.