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Reality TV Star Josh Duggar Wants to Delay His Child Pornography Trial More Than Half a Year


Josh Duggar is seen in a Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot.

Defense attorneys for ex-“19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar asked a federal judge to postpone his imminent child pornography trial more than six months to perform forensic evaluations of the evidence and to look into the local investigations that precipitated the federal probe.

With trial looming on July 6th, Duggar’s legal team wants to push it back until February 2022.

“The defense has retained an independent computer forensic expert who must conduct a computer forensic examination of each of the devices at issue—a time-consuming process that requires review at a government facility for the one device the Government alleges contained child pornography,” Duggar’s lawyer Justin Gelfand wrote in a six-page motion on Thursday. “The defense expert must also conduct a time-intensive process of reviewing the remaining devices that the Government does not allege contained child pornography.”

Gelfand added that he personally has a number of scheduling conflicts for the rest of the year.

The public learned about some of the evidence against the reality TV star and conservative activist during a bail hearing this past May, where a Homeland Security Investigations agent described some of horrific videos and images that Duggar allegedly downloaded.

According to the government, one of those videos was a file titled “Daisy’s Destruction” showing the sexual abuse of an 18-month-old toddler. Homeland Security Investigations agent Gerald Faulkner testified that the video was one of the “Top Five worst of the worst” files that he has ever had to examine. Another barely printable file name began with “14yogirl” followed by two vulgar four-letter words for sex acts. Faulkner declined at the time to read that into the record, but he said that the description was accurate.

Authorities also reported finding a zip file on Duggar’s computer with 65 explicit photographs “consistent with child pornography.”

In late April, Duggar pleaded not guilty to two child pornography offenses: receipt and possession. His motion to postpone the trial suggests that he intends to mount an evidentiary, legal and “constitutional” defense against those allegations. He also wants to dig into the genesis of the investigation against him by way of a Little Rock detective.

Duggar claims that the government provided “virtually no discovery” about the detective’s investigation—”not a single police report or document setting out the scope of the Little Rock Police Department’s actions in connection with this case,” the motion states.

His defense claims they only recently learned that two other Arkansas law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation, “at least in a minimal capacity.”

Prosecutors say that Duggar used sophisticated methods of encryption to evade law enforcement—and also Covenant Eyes, a software meant to alert his wife if he viewed any kind of pornography, let alone child pornography.

To defeat this software, Duggar created a Linux partition on his HP computer and accessed BitTorrent on the TOR Router, a browser commonly used to access the so-called dark web, according to prosecutors.

“This is a complex case arising out of a several-year federal investigation concerning allegations involving both the so-called ‘dark web’ and peer-to-peer BitTorrent file-sharing networks,” Duggar’s motion summarizes.

In 2015, Duggar publicly described having a pornography addiction, but a probation officer claimed at a recent hearing that he denied this in an interview.

That same year, Duggar apologized—without specifying what he’s sorry for—after reports emerged accusing him of molesting four of his sisters and a babysitter.

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Duggar told People magazine in May 2015. “I confessed this to my parents, who took several steps to help me address the situation.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall argued in May that the episode showed Duggar had the potential to commit hands-on abuse.

Despite expressing uncertainty about whether the former reality TV star was a danger to the community, U.S. Magistrate Judge Christy Comstock released Duggar out on bond at the end of that hearing, but she refused to let him stay with his family. He has been awaiting trial with the Duggar family’s friends.

Read Duggar’s motion below:

(Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."