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, the AP reports. A three-judge panel of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 188-month sentence handed down by US District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. 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. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek more than 12½ 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, who was convicted of producing child pornography. Elberger also argued Pratt based the sentence on Fogle's fantasies rather than his actual conduct. But "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. (An ex-girlfriend says she received a "horrifying" letter from Fogle, who is serving his sentence at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in suburban Denver.)