INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 9, 2015)-- Thursday will close a chapter in an Indiana child pornography case that got international attention. Ex-Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s co-conspirator Russell Taylor will be formally sentenced in federal court at 9 a.m.
Prosecutors are asking for 35 years in prison.
Last week, Taylor’s attorneys said in court filings that their client should serve between 15 and almost 23 years in federal prison. Prosecutors pegged Taylor as the brains behind the scheme, but his attorneys will argue he’s the real victim.
Taylor faces sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the same judge that hit Jared Fogle with a sentence of more than 15 years last month. It was more than the 12.5 years federal prosecutors asked for.
Prosecutors believe Taylor was the ring leader. He faces child exploitation and child porn charges, for filming 12 minors inside his residence and then providing the footage to Jared Fogle.
Taylor’s defense team asserts their client felt abused, threatened, and manipulated by Fogle.
“Mr. Fogle would make me call him Daddy, as in, tell Daddy how much you love him, and Daddy will take care of you,” reads a psychiatric assessment of Taylor filed in federal court, “He kept promising I’d own Subways and be a millionaire.”
The same assessment said Fogle encouraged Taylor to keep filming children in the house in the hopes of catching them naked.
Even if it’s true, criminal defense attorney Ross Thomas said it’s a tough sell.
“His problem to me is, he’s directly connected to the victims. In other words, he’s not someone who collected pictures who someone else took. He’s someone who plead guilty to taking the pictures,” he said.
Defense attorneys said Russell Taylor had a hard childhood and was abused.
In federal court filings, a psychologist described the relationship between Fogle and Taylor as coercive, because Fogle owned Taylor’s home and filed suit for it after authorities started investigating the case.
Taylor tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide in the Marion County Jail earlier this year.