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‘This Case Is Straightforward’: Prosecutors Detail Origins of Josh Duggar Child Pornography Investigation in New Filing


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

Warning: some of the details from the court filing in this story are graphic.

On the road to his trial for allegedly possessing and receiving child pornography, former “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star Josh Duggar has asked a federal judge to order prosecutors to turn over information about the authorities who allegedly busted him.

Federal prosecutors opposed that bid on Monday as an “impermissible fishing expedition for evidence that is either nonexistent, immaterial to his defense, or already produced,” in a new legal brief that sheds light on the origins of the investigation.

The filing responds to a motion to compel information filed by Duggar’s attorney Justin Gelfand in late July, which focused heavily on Little Rock Detective Amber Kalmer.

“This Case is Straightforward”

Duggar’s defense team claims that two other law enforcement officers in Arkansas also downloaded the files, and they want the government to produce information about them.

For the prosecutors, the mystery officers are a distraction.

“Despite the defendant’s repeated incantation, the two officers were not involved with the United States’ federal investigation of the defendant and they did not provide the prosecution team with any materials,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts wrote in a 14-page legal brief. “They certainly were not acting on behalf of the United States with respect to this case, as explained in more detail above, and the defendant’s request for this alleged Brady material should therefore be denied.”

Prosecutors counter that those officers played no role in the government’s investigation, and they say that Duggar’s legal team is needlessly complicating the case.

“As with many cases based on undercover investigations of individuals sharing child sexual abuse material (“CSAM”) over peer-to-peer networks, this case is straightforward,” the brief states.

According to the prosecution, the case’s origins trace more than two years ago, with a detective using “BitTorrent software designed for law enforcement” to find the transfer of childhood sexual abuse material that would eventually be linked to a high-profile target.

On May 14, 2019, Detective Kalmar downloaded files over the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network, which she said she  traced to an IP address in Northwest Arkansas.

The detective says that she sent the lead to Homeland Security Investigations Agent Gerald Faulkner, who said the internet trail led him to Duggar’s small used car dealership in Arkansas: Wholesale Motorcars. Faulkner says he used the tip to establish probable cause in support of a warrant on Duggar’s dealership.

“Multiple Files Depicting Minors”

In an affidavit disclosed on Monday, Faulkner says that the files authorities traced to Duggar’s IP address in May 2019 were a “.zip” folder and another as a video, and both allegedly depicted prepubescent girls between the ages of seven and nine being sexually abused.

The first, a zip file, contained 65 image files of one young girl of that age “lying on her back and using her hands to expose her vagina and anus,” the affidavit states.

The second, authorities say, showed two prepubescent girls “both completely naked laying on top of each other.”

“A male subject is then seen penetrating one of the prepubescent female’s vagina with his erect penis,” the affidavit states.

As revealed at Duggar’s detention hearing in May, Agent Faulkner obtained the sought-after warrant on Nov. 4, 2019.

Some four days later, Faulkner executed the search and found more images and videos showing childhood sexual abuse on devices in the reality TV star’s dealership.

“A subsequent forensic examination of that device and other devices seized from the defendant and the car lot pursuant to the warrant uncovered evidence demonstrating that the defendant used the HP Desktop to download from the internet and, subsequently, possess multiple files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” the government’s latest brief summarizes.

During the May hearing, Agent Faulkner called one notorious file, titled “Daisy’s Destruction,” among the “Top Five worst of the worst” he ever had to examine, as it depicted the abuse of an 18-month old toddler. The man who made the file, convicted Australian human trafficker Peter Scully, is serving a life sentence in the Philippines.

Duggar would not be indicted until April 2021.

Listen to a recent episode on Duggar’s case on Law&Crime’s podcast “Objections”:

Read the government’s latest brief below:

(Image via 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."