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'I Thought You Were Hiding Something': Prosecutor Has Tense Exchange With Josh Duggar's Former Coworker Over Password
The heated exchange centered around whether or not Matthew Waller recognized a password used for a partitioned portion of a desktop computer at the Arkansas car dealership where he and Josh Duggar worked together.
There were tense moments on the stand between prosecutors and Josh Duggar’s relative and former coworker Thursday as the child pornography trial against Duggar continues.
Matthew Waller—whose brother David Waller is Josh Duggar's brother-in-law—took the stand Wednesday to discuss the time he spent working at Wholesale Motors with Duggar, who owned and operated the used car dealership in Arkansas before his arrest, according to People.
Duggar, 33, has been accused of downloading child sexual abuse materials on a desktop computer at the car dealership on May 14, 15, and 16 of 2019 using a special password-protected Linux partition on the computer to split the hard drive in two and keep the illicit materials hidden.
Prosecutors have alleged that Duggar installed the partition to avoid a tracking system known as Covenant Eyes, installed on the main portion of the computer to monitor any internet activity and send a report to Duggar’s wife Anna if pornography had been downloaded on the computer, according to the news outlet.
Prosecutors have said the partitioned part of the hard drive, which would have gotten around the tracking system, required a different password—which prosecutors said was the same password Duggar had used for other personal accounts and included his birth year of 1988—alleging that Duggar himself had been the one to download the materials.
However, Duggar’s defense team has argued that others had access to the workplace computer and could have downloaded the materials, describing the case to the jury as “an old-fashioned whodunit,” according to BuzzFeed News.
On the stand Thursday, Waller told jurors he sold cars and did repairs at the dealership from January to April of 2019 and was the only other full-time employee at the lot alongside Duggar, People reports.
According to his testimony, he never saw anyone other than himself or Duggar use a keypad to get into the car lot’s small office and said he had never given the password to the computer or keypad to anyone else. Waller also said that he no longer remembered the password used to access the main computer.
But under cross-examination, when defense attorney Travis Story asked whether the password “Intel1988”—the password used for the partitioned part of the computer—rang any bells for him, he said that it “very faintly” did, according to People.
In an attempt to redirect the witness, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts said Waller had previously said he didn’t know the password.
“I told you I thought you were hiding something, didn’t I?” Roberts accused him in a tense exchange. “I asked you specifically if you were intending to testify to something that you were not telling me.”
Waller responded by saying that the word “intel” may have been “very faintly familiar” to him.
Questioning then volleyed back to Story who asked Waller whether he had been asked about the password before by the prosecution.
“It’s hard to remember who are the government lawyers and who are the defense lawyers,” Waller said, before confirming that defense attorneys had just instructed him to the tell the truth on the stand.
Roberts once again addressed Waller, who admitted that he heard the word “intel” from the defense and said there had been some information he didn’t remember that the defense had asked him about.
Story addressed the witness one more time, asking him to confirm that defense attorneys had only asked him whether the password had rung a bell and he had said it rung a “vague bell.”
The exchange was finally cut off by the judge, but not before Roberts asked one final question of Waller, repeating that he had testified earlier that he didn’t remember the password to the main computer.
Waller said this was true and told the jurors that he used to use a sticky note attached to the computer to remember how to get into the main portion of the computer.
The computer remained the focus in other testimony on Thursday afternoon, as computer analysts took the stand to talk in more depth about the partition, which was installed on the computer at 1:52 p.m. on May 13, 2019—just one day before the first of the child pornography images were downloaded, according to The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
James Fottrell, who leads a computer crime forensic analysis unit at Homeland Security Investigations, testified that someone would have to physically be at the car dealership to install the partition and would also need to be present physically to switch back and forth between the main computer and the partitioned part of the hard drive.
Along with the child pornography files—which investigators said had been both downloaded and viewed—Fottrell said authorities also found a video player app and bookmarks had been had been added by someone using the computer. They also found one document file on the partitioned section of the hard drive, which was a car payment receipt for the dealership with the sales agent’s name listed as “Josh.”
The trial will continue Friday.