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The jurors tasked with deciding former reality star Josh Duggar’s fate have been selected.
After a day-long process Tuesday, attorneys and the federal judge in the case whittled a pool of 52 potential jurors down to 12 jurors and 4 alternates after excusing one man who was related to the family and another who told the court he was extremely distrusting of government and couldn’t be impartial, local station KNWA reports.
The exact makeup of the jury selected wasn’t clear Tuesday evening because the media wasn’t allowed into the court room to allow for social distancing and an audio feed for reporters in a nearby room was not on at the end of the day after the final selections had been made.
Earlier in the day, Judge Timothy Brooks questioned jurors about their familiarity with Duggar and the family’s reality television series “19 Kids & Counting.” While 14 jurors were “not familiar” with the famous family, most had at least some prior knowledge of Duggar, who is facing two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. He's pleaded not guilty in the case.
Brooks also questioned the potential jurors about their news consumption and social media use along with any connections they may have to law enforcement or the government, People reports.
Some potential jurors were dismissed immediately, including one man who stood up and said his daughter was married to one of Duggar’s brothers.
“I would have thought we would have had a filter in place to check for that but I guess not," Brooks said after making the unusual discovery, according to the news outlet.
Another woman who was 29 weeks pregnant with twins was also quickly dismissed from serving in the trial.
During the selection process, Brooks provided the names of 28 potential or confirmed witnesses for the trial. Making the list were Duggar’s siblings Jill and Jedidiah, although it was unclear whether they would be witnesses for the defense or the prosecution. Duggar family friends Jim and Bobye Holt were also listed as potential witnesses.
Bobye testified Monday in an evidentiary hearing about confessions she said Duggar made to her in the past about molesting several underage girls while he was a teenager. Notably absent from the list was Jim Bob Duggar, Duggar’s father, who also testified during the hearing Monday, KNWA reports.
Those who made up the jury pool came from diverse backgrounds and included a CEO of a trade association, a special education teacher, an online boutique owner and a retired Arkansas Credit Union president, People reports. Other potential jurors included a graphic designer, who was an acquaintance of one of Duggar’s attorneys, and a customer service manager for Tyson.
Seven of the jurors reported having connections within their own families to sexual abuse. Brooks warned those in attendance that they could be subject to viewing graphic child sex abuse materials and images depicting sexual acts. He asked whether anyone might be unable to handle seeing the evidence, but no one voiced any objections, according to the media reports.
In addition to being questioned by Brooks, prosecutors and defense attorneys were also given a chance to question the candidates.
U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall asked potential jurors about their favorite TV shows and stressed the difference between television and real-life police work. She also asked witnesses about how they would view “reasonable doubt” and questioned some of the men in the pool about their jobs, including what they liked and didn’t like about their occupations.
Duggar’s attorneys asked about those who had owned their own businesses, and the comfort level those in the pool had with computers, IT security and software.
Attorney Justin Gelfand also questioned potential jurors about their opinion on car salesmen and car lots—a nod seemingly to Josh’s prior ownership of a used car dealership in Arkansas before his arrest, People reports.
Authorities have said they recovered images depicting child pornography on a computer that had been at the business.
Brooks also spent time talking with 17 jurors about personal situations in his chambers before the final selections were made.
Opening statements in the case are expected to begin on Wednesday.
Duggar has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
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