Russell Taylor asks judge for new sentencing hearing


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - He was convicted of creating child pornography and helped with evidence against former Subway spokesman Jared Fogel. Now Russell Taylor wants a federal judge to toss out or reduce his 27 year prison sentence.

Taylor pleaded guilty last year to producing and distributing child pornography, but now says he's behind bars because his attorney didn't do his job.

In his motion filed in US District Court, Taylor challenges the search warrant that first brought investigators to his home where they discovered child pornography - evidence he claims was obtained illegally, saying it all came from a personal vendetta against him by a former Indianapolis police officer.

In court documents, Taylor claims text messages he exchanged with a Jane Doe that depicted bestiality first brought investigators to his home.

Those messages were orchestrated by a former Metro Police officer involved with Jane Doe, according to Taylor. He says he also at one point was intimately involved with the same woman.

In court documents, Taylor claims the officer confronted Taylor and told Taylor he was "going to destroy me and my rich friends."

"For him to come forward now at this point, almost a year later and say, 'I didn't know what I was doing. I had a bad lawyer and I'm really innocent of these charges' is pretty remarkable and I think his chances are very slim," said prominent Indianapolis defense attorney Jack Crawford.

Crawford thinks the judge will examine the claims, but says he'd be surprised if Taylor's motion gets him anywhere.

"Be careful what you wish for. You might get it," Crawford said.

"If the judge would overturn the guilty plea, he would get a trial and face life in prison," Crawford explained of what Taylor could face if his sentence was thrown out and he was given a chance to go to trial.

Taylor claims he asked his attorney to file a motion to suppress the evidence collected at his west side home, but was told the judge would never grant that request.

Taylor also claims he accepted the plea agreement without fully understanding the charges. He says his attorneys did not tell him he was pleading guilty to three charges involving children who are relatives. In his motion, Taylor says had he known that, he never would have admitted to charges tied to those pictures and that could have reduced his sentence.

Taylor says those photos did not show sexually explicit conduct.

"I think you have to remember these photographs were lurid and sexual," said Crawford.

"They don't have to be of a sexual act, but if the posing of a child - and some of these children were as young as 9 years old - if the posing exhibited them in any way that would appeal to 'prurient interests' they call it, to sexual interests, then that's pornography," Crawford explained.

So could Taylor's claims set in motion a domino effect leading to any changes in Jared Fogle's conviction or sentence?

"There's an argument that if evidence is obtained illegally, that all other evidence that ensues from that investigation should be tossed out because it's called fruit of the poisonous tree," said Crawford.

"From what I know of the evidence, these lurid images would be enough to convict Mr. Taylor, Mr. Fogle and anybody involved and I really don't think they want a jury to decide their fate," he added.

Eyewitness News reached out to Banks and Brower, the law firm of Taylor's former attorney Bradley Banks. The firm had no comment.

Taylor is currently serving his sentence at a medium security facility in Florida.

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