Brandon Cox, a 26-year-old from Wetumpka, was an aspiring singer when he auditioned for “American Idol” in 2011.
He decided to sing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” for the panel of judges – and he was a huge success.
Cox went through the auditions and made it to the 11th season’s top group of contestants.
But his dream would be cut short. The Alabama resident would soon find himself removed from the competition before getting the chance to appear on the live show.
And it was revealed later that Cox was hiding a very dark secret during his time on “American Idol.”
According to WSFA, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant to look for child pornography on Cox’s computer in 2011 – before his time on the show.
There’s no word if “American Idol” producers were aware of the investigation during his auditions.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, investigators found roughly 275 “horrific” files showing “obscene matter depicting persons under the age of 17,” according to Assistant District Attorney Kristy Peoples.
Cox claimed he was unaware of how the files got onto his computer, which he said he used solely to download music. He said in court:
“The competitions I went to that year, we had to bring our own music.”
According to WSFA, Cox was indicted on seven counts of child pornography in 2015 when he could not prove he wasn’t the one who downloaded the files.
Peoples asked Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds to sentence Cox to 10 years in prison for each count during the trial. She said (emphasis added):
“We are talking about toddlers, sexual penetration, oral sex, and the horrific nature of these photos and the quantity of the photos. I think that is why the judge did impose the sentence we asked for.”
The images described in court were so terrible that many people in the room gasped audibly, according to Montgomery Advertiser.
Peoples got her wish.
On Wednesday, Judge Reynolds sentence the former “American Idol” contestant to 70 years in prison.
Despite being sentenced, he still maintains his innocence.