Subway pitchman Jared Fogel was recently charged in the Federal Court of Indiana with distribution of child pornography and having sex with a minor. When faced with these allegations, Mr. Fogel and his defense attorneys took several smart actions to reduce Mr. Fogel’s exposure and potential jail time.

Hiring an Attorney Prior to Charges

Mr. Fogel started his strong defense when he hired experienced federal defense attorneys as soon as he realized he was under investigation. He did not wait until charges were filed or an arrest was made and this decision placed his legal team in the position to provide him with the best representation possible.

Guilty Plea to an Information

Most federal criminal defendants are indicted by a grand jury. This is a process by which a federal prosecutor presents facts to a group of people, the grand jury, who then state if they believe there is enough evidence to justify an arrest. If they find the prosecutor has presented strong case, an indictment is issued and an arrest occurs.

In Mr. Fogel’s situation, his attorneys negotiated a deal with the federal prosecutor prior to a grand jury hearing. Instead of an indictment, Mr. Fogel pleaded guilty to an information, which is a statement of the facts of the case. One critical factor is that the defense attorneys can negotiate what is and is not included in an information. In Mr. Fogel’s case, his attorneys negotiated to omit certain facts from the information/charging document which reduced his exposure to penalties and prison time.

Appeal Waiver

Mr. Fogel has pled guilty to the information but has not yet been sentenced. His attorneys have negotiated an appeal waiver, which states that if Mr. Fogel is sentenced to more than 151 months in prison the sentence can be appealed. This is important because, despite any negotiations between the defense attorneys and the federal prosecutors, the judge will determine the sentence. The waiver gives Mr. Fogel and his attorneys the opportunity to appeal a potentially excessive sentence despite the fact that he pled guilty to the charges.

Lessons Learned

A person can come under investigation or face potential indictment for a variety of federal charges including:

  • Child Pornography
  • Wire Fraud
  • Drug Charges
  • Embezzlement

The sooner you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney the better representation they can provide. Your attorney can begin negotiations and structure plea agreements if they are brought into the process before charges are filed, which will minimize your exposure and penalties.

Board certified criminal defense attorney Ben Stechschulte has extensive experience in representing clients in these situations. Even if the facts are not in his client’s favor, he can negotiate a good deal and advocate aggressively reducing his client’s potential exposure. As Mr. Fogel’s situation demonstrates, do not wait to hire an attorney to obtain your best defense.