INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Russell Taylor, the former head of Jared Fogle’s Jared Foundation, is set to get a new trial.
Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted Taylor’s request to vacate his conviction and plea deal on the grounds of ineffective counsel. Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in December 2015 after pleading guilty to producing child pornography and distributing child pornography.
The decision effectively means Taylor’s case is starting over.
According to Brandon Sample, one of the attorneys handling Taylor’s appeal, Taylor no longer stands convicted of any crime. Sample said the court’s ruling “vindicates Mr. Taylor’s long standing assertion that his plea was the product of ineffective assistance of counsel.”
Taylor has long maintained that his former defense attorney, Brad Banks, was ineffective, leading him to forge a plea agreement. A judge sentenced him to 27 years; prosecutors had agreed not to seek a prison sentence greater than 35 years.
Taylor’s case led to the investigation that brought federal charges against former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who’s serving a sentence in federal prison for charges related to child pornography and paying for sex with minors.
Taylor’s motion to vacate cited the ineffectiveness of his defense, saying Banks failed to consider several different lines of defense before Taylor agreed to the plea deal. The motion also argued that some of the evidence against him didn’t constitute child pornography and had been obtained through an unconstitutional search warrant. Taylor also claimed his attorney didn’t review all the evidence against him.
Taylor was accused of recording minors without their knowledge and giving the material to Fogle. During Taylor’s sentencing hearing in 2015, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt–the same judge who vacated the conviction last week–said he’d “preyed on those entrusted to his care” and “shared a mutual perversion” with Fogle.
But Taylor, who cried throughout the proceedings, said he was remorseful and had “shamed” his family and friends.
He claimed Fogle manipulated him and abused their friendship.