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'19 Kids And Counting' Star Josh Duggar Is Found Guilty On Child Pornography Charges
Josh Duggar could face 20 years in prison when he's sentenced in about four months after being convicted in federal court of receiving and possessing child pornography.
Former reality star Josh Duggar has been found guilty in federal court of receiving and possessing child pornography.
The verdict came in Thursday morning, not even a full 24 hours after the jury had begun to deliberate Wednesday afternoon, according to local station KHBS.
Duggar has been convicted of one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography and could face up to 20 years behind bars for each count and a $250,000 fine.
Duggar was immediately taken into custody after the verdict. His sentencing will be determined in about four months, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks said.
Jurors provided a clue as to was discussed behind closed doors on Wednesday, when they asked the judge to re-listen to critical evidence in the case.
Judge Brooks received a note, signed by two of the jurors, asking to re-listen to audio of a conversation between Duggar and Homeland Security agents, after investigators first descended on the Arkansas car dealership on Nov. 8, 2019 to serve a search warrant and seize Duggar’s electronic devices, People reports.
Three excerpts from the interview, totaling about 25-minutes, were played by prosecutors last week. Duggar can be heard in the audio telling investigators which electronic devices he had at the car dealership at the time and sharing details about how he used the devices and how he had set up the work computer.
Duggar talked about being familiar with file-sharing networks and a Tor internet browser, which investigators said had been used to download child sex abuse materials onto the workplace desktop computer.
After re-listening to the audio, the jury retired to the jury room where they continued to deliberate until about 5 p.m. before breaking for the day.
Earlier Wednesday, both sides presented their closing arguments in the high-profile case of the former “19 Kids and Counting” star.
Prosecutors argued that data from Duggar’s iPhone placed him at the car dealership when a secret Linux partition was installed on the computer in May of 2019, as well as when the images depicting child pornography were downloaded onto the hard drive in the days that followed, The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
"Who's at the car lot all the times the partition was used? Who was at the car lot every time child pornography was downloaded? The evidence shows Josh Duggar is at that car lot every single time," Deputy U.S. Attorney Carley Marshall told jurors.
Prosecutors said Duggar had used the Linux partition to divide the hard drive and keep the images from being detected by an accountability tracker installed on the main portion of the computer that would report an inappropriate activity to his wife, Anna.
As evidence that Josh had been aware of the separate partition, they pointed to a sales receipt from June 22, 2019 from the car dealership saved onto that portion of the hard drive with the name “Josh” listed as the salesman for the transaction.
"Is this really a whodunit?" Marshall asked the jury, according to People. "His car lot. His office. His computer. His family on a desktop background. His password. Evidence in this case points to Josh Duggar."
Justin Gelfand, Duggar’s defense attorney, had argued that investigators were so “star-struck” by the possibility of arresting the former reality star that they failed to investigate other possibilities, including considering the possibility that the computer could have been accessed remotely by an outside user, KNWA reports.
He also pointed to testimony from defense computer forensic expert Michele Bush, who testified that she believed the evidence in the case showed that remote access wasn’t just a possibility, but it was probable in this case as enough to give jurors reasonable doubt, the local paper reports.
"This is a trail of bread crumbs they didn't want to follow and chose not to follow,” he said.
He also urged the jury to consider the serious ramifications of the verdict for Duggar—a married father of seven.
“Everything is on the line, the stakes don’t get any higher,” he said, according to KNWA. “We ask that you find him not guilty.”
After Gelfand finished his remarks, the prosecution—who had the burden of proof in the case—addressed the jury one last time.
In his final remarks, U.S. Prosecuting Attorney Dustin Roberts told the jury that the defense was “trying to divorce you from the truth in favor of insanity.”
He reiterated that Duggar had been the only employee at the car lot during the time in question and said there was no reason to believe the lot would have been targeted by a remote user.
“This is not a complicated case,” he said. “It’s about a man who owns a car lot.”
Duggar first rose to fame during the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.” The show was canceled in 2015 after an earlier police report was uncovered that accused the oldest son of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of sexually abusing four underage girls, some of whom were his sisters.
Duggar was also embroiled in another scandal that same year after it was revealed that he had been cheating on his wife.
He publicly apologized at the time for being “the biggest hypocrite ever,” according to local station KNWA.