Why is Jared Fogle's viewing of naked teenagers a federal case?

Although Fogle’s possession and sharing of child pornography seems to have taken place entirely within the borders of Indiana, prosecutors say his “distribution and receipt of images or videos was accomplished using a means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce, and in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce.” How so? The charges say Fogle looked at child pornography produced by his associate Russell Taylor, who ran his charitable foundation, “on a computer provided by Taylor.” Taylor also allegedly gave Fogle “commercial child pornography” on a thumb drive. Not interstatey enough for you? Well, Fogle also “received some images and videos through text messages,” delivered via a cellphone network that operates across state lines.

Still not satisfied that federal jurisdiction is appropriate? Perhaps it bothers you that Fogle’s “distribution” of child pornography consisted of two occasions when he “displayed to another person the commercial child pornography he obtained from Taylor on a thumb drive,” which does not seem to involve interstate commerce in any way. If so, here’s the clincher: “The visual depictions the Defendant distributed and received were produced using camera equipment, computers, cell phones, and storage media manufactured outside the State of Indiana.” Enough said.

The federal nexus for the prostitution-related charges is straightforward by comparison. Although none of the sex Fogle had crossed state borders, Fogle himself did while traveling to New York City so he could pay to have sex with teenagers.

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