Josh Duggar, the eldest child on the canceled TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, has been found guilty of downloading and possessing child pornography on his work computer. Closing arguments were delivered on December 8, and a verdict was reached the following day after less than seven hours of deliberation. Duggar was found guilty on charges of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. He faces up to 20 years of jail time and $250,000 for each count. Judge Timothy Brooks announced that Duggar’s sentencing will take place in approximately four months. Duggar has been taken into custody.
According to KNWA, a local Fox News affiliate, Duggar’s defense had two witnesses: Michele Bush, a digital-forensics expert, and Daniel Wilcox, a former Homeland Security Investigations task-force member and Rogers, Arkansas, police narcotics officer. Defense attorneys for Duggar argued that the illicit materials were downloaded by someone else and that Duggar’s own personal devices were clean. However, federal prosecutors showed evidence of Duggar’s internet usage, which logged him downloading the images, sending personal messages, and saving pictures. They also asserted Duggar had downloaded a Linux partition on his computer to evade software that monitors internet use. The prosecution called ten witnesses, including Jim and Bobye Holt, former family friends of the Duggars; Bobye Holt testified that Josh had confessed to molesting underage girls during a conversation in 2003.
19 Kids and Counting debuted in 2008 but stopped airing in 2015 when Duggar was investigated for molesting his four younger sisters and a babysitter. At the time, Duggar made a statement about the investigation. “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” he said. “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet, and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”