INDIANAPOLIS Former Subway sandwich chain pitchman Jared Fogle asked a federal judge on Wednesday to accept his plea of guilty to charges of child pornography and traveling for illicit paid sex with minors.
Federal Judge Mark Dinsmore must now review the plea deal Fogle's attorneys reached with prosecutors and decide whether to accept it. In the meantime the court entered a technical plea of not guilty on Fogle's behalf.
Fogle, who became famous after losing a lot of weight on a diet that included Subway sandwiches, was placed on home detention and must wear an electronic monitoring device. No date has been set for his next appearance.
Under the deal, Fogle would serve between five and 12 years in prison, pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims, register as a sex offender and meet other conditions.
Subway fired Fogle on Tuesday when reports of the plea agreement emerged.
According to the charges, Rusell Taylor, head of the Jared Foundation set up to combat child obesity, secretly taped 12 minors while they changed clothes and showered at his home, including two who were as young as 13 or 14. He shared the images with Fogle, who knew they showed minors, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Fogle also received commercial child pornography from Taylor, viewed it and failed to report it. He stored explicit images of children as young as six, prosecutors said.
Fogle traveled to New York City at least twice between 2010 and 2013 seeking sex with minors, and paid for sex acts with a girl he knew to be 17 years old and another girl younger than 18. He told the first girl he would "make it worth her while" if she could find him another minor to have sex with, "the younger the girl, the better," according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said he repeatedly asked prostitutes and others to find him 14- and 15-year-olds for sex.
Police and prosecutors said in a news conference on Wednesday that the investigation of Taylor and Fogle started after a tip from a private citizen.
Fogle became a Subway spokesman after losing a reported 245 pounds in part by eating regularly at the sandwich chain. He made his first Subway commercial in 2000, and appeared in a new one last year, according to Subway.
Immediately after the hearing Fogle's wife, Katie, said in a statement that she would seek an end to the marriage.
"Obviously, I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the recent developments involving Jared. I am in the process of seeking a dissolution of the marriage," she said in the statement released by her lawyer.
Fogle's attorney Jeremy Margolis told reporters in a statement on the courthouse steps: "He expects to go to prison, he will do his time... He will continue to make amends to people whose lives he has affected, and at some point hopes to become again a productive member of society."
Authorities searched Fogle's home in the Zionsville suburb northwest of Indianapolis in July, two months after Taylor was arrested on federal child pornography charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said at a news conference that Fogle continued to seek paid sex with minors even after Taylor's arrest, but was not successful.
DeBrota said prosecutors were not concerned that Fogle would try to flee.
"I don't think he's going anywhere. If he does, we'll catch him, we'll arrest him and I'll prosecute him some more," he said. "I don't think Jared is going to flee very far without getting recognized."
(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Writing by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Lambert)