Cox, who appeared on American Idol in 2012, denied knowledge of the "horrific" images and videos

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Brandon-Cox

Onetime American Idol contestant Brandon Cox was sentenced to 70 years in prison Wednesday for possessing more than 200 pornographic photos and video of children described by an Alabama prosecutor as “horrific,” PEOPLE confirms.

A spokesperson from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation tells PEOPLE jurors returned a guilty verdict in January against Cox, a 33-year-old from Wetumpka who appeared on the long-running Fox singing competition in 2012.

At trial, the jury was shown 275 files investigators were able to recover from Cox’s computer, the spokesperson confirms.

But Cox, who was eliminated early on in the show, maintained his innocence, even at his sentencing, the spokesperson says.

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During his trial, Cox claimed he had no idea the illicit images were on his computer’s hard drive, and said he only ever used the device to download music files.

Cox also said he did not know the children in the pictures.

Because of the graphic nature of the images, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Cox to 10 years for each count he was found guilty of.

“We are talking about toddlers … and the horrific nature of these photos and the quantity of the photos,” Assistant District Attorney Kristy Peoples told Judge Sibley Reynolds during Wednesday sentencing, the spokesperson confirms. “I think that is why the judge did impose the sentence we asked for.”

In addition to his prison stint, Cox must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Cox’s attorneys could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if he plans to appeal his conviction.