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Jury finds Josh Duggar guilty of downloading and possessing child porn

After an almost two week trial, a federal jury has found Josh Duggar guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography. He will be sentenced at a later date.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments Wednesday, Dec. 8 in the Josh Duggar child pornography trial, leaving the fate of the former reality star in the hands of a 12 person federal jury. 

After deliberating for a day, the jury returned Thursday and found Josh Duggar guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography. Duggar was immediately taken into custody following the decision. He is scheduled to be sentenced on a later date.  

Credit: KFSM
Courtroom sketch of Josh Duggar being taken into custody after being found guilty on child porn charges.

The defense made no comment regarding the verdict but attorneys for Duggar say they plan on filing for an appeal. 

United States Attorney for Western Arkansas, Clay Fowlkes says this verdict is a milestone for the western district in Arkansas to combat child abuse. He also says this shows no one is above the law.

Fowlkes said over 7% of the cases sentenced in the year 2020 in the Western District of Arkansas were child pornography and sexual abuse cases.

According to the prosecution, Duggar will be sentenced on one count of receiving child pornography and that possession of child pornography is a lesser offense, saying by function of law he cannot be convicted on both.  

Receipt of child pornography is punishable by five to 20 years in prison. Possession of child pornography depicting prepubescent children has a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment as well.

A federal Homeland Security agent testified in May that the pornographic images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, had been downloaded in May 2019 by a computer at a car dealership that Duggar owned.

Amy King, Duggar's cousin, took to Twitter to react to the jury's decision.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar released a statement on the Duggar Family website.

Jinger, Duggar, Vuolo also released a statement discussing Josh Duggar's guilty verdict. 

Daily Trial Recap

Dec. 8, 2021

Closing arguments have ended in Duggar's case. The prosecution argued if this was really a case of "Who done it?" as Duggar's defense has claimed. The prosecution says the computer where the child porn was downloaded was in his office, on his car lot, and his passwords were used to get around software that alerted his wife if he viewed porn. Duggar's defense continues to say that someone "hacked" into Duggar's computer, or was able to gain remote access. 

It's now up to the 12 person jury to decide what happens next. 

During deliberation, jurors requested to review a video from when special agents first arrived at Duggar's car lot in 2019 to question him about the alleged videos and images. They also asked for a certain calendar, but that request was denied by the judge. 

After deliberating for nearly four hours, the jury decided to adjourn and reconvene Thursday, Dec. 9, at 8:30 a.m.

Dec. 7, 2021

Duggar's defense brought forensic computer analyst, Michele Bush, into court Tuesday, who was questioned by the prosecution.

Bush said there was evidence of remote access programs on the computer, but there was no evidence that these programs were used on the days in question.

The forensic analyst said that there was a possibility that the data that would report if those programs were used was deleted.

Just before 3 p.m., the defense rested their case, and the prosecution presented counter-evidence.

The court will begin again at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, where closing arguments will be read. After that, the case will be in the jury's hands.

RELATED: Josh Duggar Trial: Closing arguments end, case turned over to the jury

Dec. 6, 2021

Monday morning, the prosecution rested its case, and now it's up to the defense to determine the next step.

Before resting, the prosecution questioned Bobbye Holt and former Arkansas Senator Jim Holt, witnesses from a previous investigation into Josh Duggar molesting accusations, on the stand. Jim Holt attested to a conversation about downloading software on Josh Duggar's computer that would alert his wife if he viewed porn. Bobbye Holt stated that Josh Duggar had confessed to her in the past to allegedly molesting minors.

If the defense rests their case Monday, the trial could be turned over to the jury.

Please check back for updates to this developing story. 

Dec. 3, 2021

The jury in the case got a unique look at how U.S. Federal forensic analyst James Fotrell analyzed the computer pulled from Duggar’s used car lot.

Duggar's attorneys said that someone else could have downloaded or viewed the child pornography on the computer in question, and the prosecution argued why they believe that is false.

The prosecution focused on details surrounding Duggar's Arvest and Amazon account passwords, saying the passwords used on those accounts matched the one also used to access the child porn found on the computer.

During the cross-examination of Fotrell, the prosecution showed how some of the photos that Duggar took at his used car lot coincided with the times the child porn was downloaded/viewed on the computer also at the same car lot.

The forensic analyst told jurors how Duggar was spotted using the computer in question after his reflection on the computer screen was captured on a photo he allegedly took. In that reflection, the analyst circled a person's silhouette with a hat. The prosecution brought up a photograph that same day where Duggar was wearing a hat with the same logo, leading the analyst to believe it was Duggar.

During the trial, the prosecution noted that Duggar's computer had software downloaded so his wife could track his online activity. The software sends Anna Duggar, Josh Duggar's wife, an accountability report on his internet usage. The prosecution has noted in the past that they believe Duggar used a partitioned hard drive with Linux to get around the software.

Dec. 2, 2021

Jill (Duggar) Dillard's husband, Derick Dillard, walked into court ahead of day two of the trial. Jill, Josh Duggar's sister, could be called to the stand to testify at some point during the trial.

Credit: KFSM
Derick Dillard walking into court in Washington County on Dec. 2, 2021.

During Wednesday's hearing, the defense called Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkner to testify. He stated that in May 2019, the FBI Little Rock Office traced materials described as child pornography downloaded through peer-to-peer file sharing torrents to an IP address in Fayetteville.

Credit: KFSM
Sketch from the Josh Duggar trial on Dec. 2, 2021

After an investigation, Homeland Security agents matched the location to a used car lot Duggar owns in Springdale. Later that year, agents searched the property and seized multiple computers and Duggar's personal iPhone. The agent claimed Duggar used a Linux partition on one of the computers at the car lot to get around software that alerted his wife if he viewed pornography.

After analyzing the seized materials, the agent says his team found several files depicting child porn on a computer that Duggar had accessed. He then stated that some of the types of images located on Duggar's computer ranked among the worst he has seen in his career investigating child pornography.

The special agent claimed that before recording his initial interview in 2019, Duggar allegedly said, "What is this about? Did someone download child pornography?"

During day three of the trial, the defense questioned who exactly had access to Duggar's computer at the car dealership.

The defense claimed the special agent's timeline is wrong about when someone allegedly downloaded the child pornography onto Duggar's work computer.

When called to the stand to testify, the special agent claimed a person with access to Duggar's laptop downloaded the images on businesses days between 10-11 p.m. Duggar's attorneys argued that the person downloaded the photos between 4-5 p.m.

Dec. 1, 2021

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Judge Timothy Brooks rejected a motion filed by Duggar's attorneys that would have prevented evidence of past molestation allegations from being presented in court.

On Wednesday, jurors also saw portions of the images and videos found on the computer confiscated from the car dealership Duggar owned.

Some of those pornographic images depicted children as young as 7-years-old. Duggar's defense claimed he did not download the pictures.

The first day ended with the defense questioning the special agent who issued the search warrant to go inside of Josh Duggar's car dealership, where they confiscated two computers and his cellphone.

RELATED: Josh Duggar Trial: Judge says jurors can hear past molestation evidence

Nov. 30, 2021

Jury selection began Tuesday, Nov. 30 morning at the Washington County Courthouse.

Josh Duggar, seen holding the hand of his wife Anna, walked into court in Washington County on Tuesday for the first day of trial.

Although jury selection is underway, the judge has still not decided whether family friend Bobeye Holt will testify against Josh.

The prosecution filed a supplemental brief on Tuesday describing the importance of Bobeye's testimony. In brief, it details Josh Duggar's alleged confession to Holt of molesting four minors in 2003.

According to the brief, Josh Duggar discussed this with Holt because, at that time, he was in a relationship with her daughter. The state says Holt described this as a conversation between close family friends and was not related to anyone's role in the church they both attended.

Josh Duggar's attorneys submitted a supplemental briefing on Tuesday claiming that Holt's testimony falls under clergy privilege, also referred to as priest-penitent/religious privilege. This would shield certain communications from disclosure.

The brief states that Josh Duggar made these alleged statements to Holt with the expectation that they would be kept confidential.

According to the prosecution's brief, Josh Duggar failed to adduce any credible evidence that he received "priestly consolation and guidance" from Holt or that he expected her not to reveal what he said.

In these documents the judge is using to decide if Holt will testify, we have learned what the prosecution says Josh Duggar told her that day.

The following details could be difficult for some to read.

According to the prosecution, on Mar. 30, 2003, the Holts joined Josh Duggar and his parents in his parent's bedroom, where he told Mrs. Holt that he had inappropriately touched the vagina of one of the victim's that day and had been touching the breasts and vaginal areas of three others, both over and under their clothes, for years.

The prosecution's brief states that Holt further testified that in early 2005, the defendant stayed with her and her husband in Little Rock because, as she explained, they "loved him and wanted to see if he could repair his relationship with their daughter." One evening after her husband fell asleep. Holt testified that Josh Duggar told her that he had "digitally penetrated" one of the victim's vaginas while she sat on his lap and he read her Bible stories. According to the document, this rape occurred on Mar. 30, 2003, which prompted the Duggars to contact the Holts that day.

Jury selection from 52 potential jurors has been completed with 12 main jurors and four alternates.

Potential witnesses include Jedidiah Duggar and Jill Duggar-Dillard, siblings to Josh Duggar.

Nov. 29, 2021

On Monday, Josh Duggar was in court for an evidentiary hearing ahead of his child pornography trial. Jury selection is set for Tuesday, Nov. 30.

After the prosecution presented two new witnesses to testify about a past molestation case involving Josh Duggar, the judge called Monday's hearing.

The judge asked for a subpoena for Josh's dad, Jim Bob Duggar, who's currently running for a state senate seat representing Washington County. A family friend named Bobye Holt is also facing a subpoena.

Prosecutors allege Josh Duggar may have confessed to Holt about a previous assault.

During Monday's hearing, the judge did not decide if these two would have to testify during the trial. He did ask for a briefing from both sides on why they should or should not testify. The judge will revisit it before jury selection begins Tuesday.

5NEWS will have full coverage of the trial as it progresses.

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