In 2014, an undercover investigator identified Las Vegas headlining magician Jan Rouven Fuechtener as a pedophile in possession of some 3,500 pornographic videos and images, some of which involved children young enough to attend kindergarten. 

FBI Agents found more child pornography when they searched his Las Vegas home following his arrest in March, 2016. That isn’t even the most damning evidence against the German magician: He pleaded guilty to several federal charges of possessing and disseminating child pornography later that year. 

Fuechtener has apparently changed his mind since then, but a federal judge recently rejected his bid to have that guilty plea withdrawn. He now faces anywhere from 24 years to the rest of his life in a federal prison, a lifetime on the sexual offenders registry, nigh-guaranteed deportation, and an order to pay out $5,000 to each child identified in the case. There are 85 of them.

Fuechtener made his guilty plea during an FBI agent’s testimony about images found in password-protected files on computers seized from his house. While we can’t speculate as to the motive for his guilty plea, we can take a fair guess at the reason for its retraction; in 2017, he accused his lawyers of misleading him about the consequences of the plea. He claims he was never told that extra time could be added to his sentence based on the number of images found in his possession, or his admission that he shared the pornography, and attempted to destroy evidence before his arrest.

Fuechtener’s husband Frank Dietmar Alfter was named in the case as an unindicted co-conspirator, and has since left the country.