Josh Duggar is set to be sentenced on May 25 after being convicted of receiving and possessing child pornography.
The feds have argued that Duggar should receive 20 years, while Duggar's team argued for just five.
In a court filing on Wednesday, Duggar's attorneys called a 20-year sentence "unnecessarily harsh."
The former reality TV star Josh Duggar complained in court documents on Wednesday that federal prosecutors had sought an "excessive, entirely unwarranted, and unprecedented" sentence of 20 years for his child pornography conviction.
Duggar, 34, had filed a sentencing memorandum last week suggesting that the judge grant a mere five-year sentence, and noting that Duggar intends to appeal the jury's guilty verdict. Prosecutors noted in a court filing of their own on Wednesday that Duggar's suggested five-year sentence was "the lowest sentence permitted by statute."
Duggar's court filing on Wednesday argued that the government had sought an "unnecessarily harsh sentence," saying no other "similarly situated defendant" has ever received 20 years in prison. Duggar's attorneys argued that other child pornography defendants who had received lengthy sentences had possessed far greater quantities of child sexual abuse material, or had lengthy criminal records, unlike Duggar.
Duggar was convicted last December, after a week-long jury trial, of receiving and possessing child pornography in May of 2019. Federal prosecutors had accused Duggar of downloading hundreds of pieces of child sexual abuse material, including images and videos, using the desktop computer at his Arkansas car dealership.
Duggar has maintained his innocence, and his attorneys suggested at trial that Duggar was not the only person who had access to the office computer on which the child sexual abuse material was found.
Duggar is due to be sentenced on May 25.
Duggar's attorneys argued in their Wednesday court filing that the child sexual abuse material found on Duggar's computer contained images that were "either only partially downloaded, never downloaded, or deleted before being opened."
"To be clear, nobody denies the extent to which real children are victims of child pornography crimes — but the Government's focus in its sentencing memorandum is clearly intended to provoke an emotional response in the hopes that this Court will hand down an unnecessarily harsh sentence."
Prosecutors argued last week in their sentencing memorandum that the "sadistic" images and videos Duggar downloaded should be factored into his sentence. Some of the material included videos and images of prepubescent girls as young as 7 or 8 being penetrated and violently abused.
One file even depicted the sexual abuse and torture of an infant, prosecutors said, adding that one computer forensics expert had described the file as "one of the most offensive series of [child sexual abuse material] that he has seen in his career."
Duggar's attorneys concluded their court filing on Wednesday by arguing that a sentence of five years, followed by a term of supervised release "will be sufficient to satisfy all the purposes of sentencing."
Prosecutors on Wednesday accused Duggar's team of trying to "confuse and downplay the severity of his crimes," and accused Duggar of playing the "victim" rather than holding himself accountable and seeking treatment that would prevent him from reoffending in the future.
"Absent some recognition from Duggar of his crimes and his need to address his demonstrated and long-standing sexual interest in children, it is unlikely that he will ever view his conviction as anything other than proof that he needs to be more circumspect and secretive the next time he engages in conduct involving child sexual abuse," prosecutors wrote.
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