Federal prosecutors have copies of audio recordings a Florida woman says she made of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle talking about sexual encounters he had with children and say they took those recordings "into account" before charging Fogle.
U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Tim Horty said Wednesday that federal authorities obtained copies of the recordings Rochelle Herman-Walrond said she made of her telephone conversations with Fogle.
Horty said he cannot comment on when or how federal authorities obtained the recordings, or whether they capture Fogle speaking to Herman-Walrond. But he said federal prosecutors did consider the recordings before charging Fogle, who has agreed to plead guilty to child pornography and sex-crime charges.
"They were not part of our initial investigation — and it wasn't part of the infancy of any of it. We are aware of what they had to say and we took the recordings into account, but that's as much as I can say about it," Horty said.
Herman-Walrond gave copies of the recordings to the Dr. Phil Show, which plans to air them Thursday and Friday. The syndicated program said in a promotion that in the recordings the disgraced former pitchman discusses his interest in sex with children and sexual encounters he's had with minors. The promotion said that Herman-Walrond spent five years secretly recording conversations with Fogle. Herman-Walrond has not responded to repeated calls from The Associated Press for comment on the case.
Fogle attorney Ron Elberger declined to comment Wednesday when asked about the recordings and Herman-Walrond's allegations.
Horty would say only that "federal authorities" have been in contact with Herman-Walrond but he declined to comment on when and through what manner that communication occurred.
Indiana authorities who handled the investigation into Fogle have said their probe began in September 2014 based on a tip to Indiana State Police regarding Russell Taylor, the then-executive director of the Jared Foundation.
Fogle, who became a Subway spokesman after shedding more than 200 pounds as a college student, in part by eating the chain's sandwiches, started that foundation to raise awareness and money to fight childhood obesity. Subway ended its relationship with Fogle after authorities raided his suburban Indianapolis home in July.
Subway said last month the company received a "serious" complaint about Fogle in 2011 from Herman-Walrond, a former journalist who revealed publicly to WWSB-TV in Sarasota in August that she also took her concerns to the FBI and secretly recorded her phone conversations with Fogle for more than four years to assist the agency's investigation.
FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne said the agency "does not confirm or deny who we work with or who is involved in our cases."
"People can watch Dr. Phil and see what she says but we're not going to comment on it," she said.
Fogle agreed on Aug. 19 to plead guilty to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child pornography.
Court documents detailing the charges against the 38-year-old father of two say that Fogle had sex at New York City hotels with two girls under age 18 — one of whom was 16 at the time — and paid them for that sex.
Prosecutors allege Taylor, who's agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges, secretly filmed those minors as they were nude, changing clothes, or engaged in other activities. Prosecutors said Fogle received photos and videos from Taylor of several of those 12 youths, although not all of them.
Fogle is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 19. Prosecutors have agreed not to seek a sentence of more than 12½ years in prison and Fogle agreed not to ask for less than five years. Ten victims have already received at least $1 million in restitution Fogle agreed to pay in his plea deal. His four other victims are expected to have either received that money or have arrangements in place for receiving it by the time he is sentenced, prosecutors have said.