Former reality TV star Josh Duggar from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” is asking a judge to release him on bail after being charged by indictment in Arkansas for receipt and possession of child pornography.
In court documents filed Tuesday, the 33-year-old argued he is not a flight risk and should be allowed to return home to his pregnant wife Anna and their six kids or to a third-party custodian with no minor children.
In Tuesday’s filing, Duggar claimed he has cooperated with the investigation since November 2019 when his office was searched and turned himself in when he was asked. He also argued he has no previous criminal convictions.
“This Court should conclude that the Government’s decision to not even charge Duggar until 17 months after executing the search —17 months during which Duggar fully complied with the law, maintained an open dialogue with the Government through legal counsel, and continued to support his family through lawful employment — unambiguously demonstrates that Duggar poses no risk of flight or danger to the community,” his lawyers argued in Tuesday’s filing.
His legal team also argued he was less likely to be a flight risk due to his reality star fame.
“Duggar has a widely-recognizable face and has spent the majority of his life in the public spotlight — making any concern that he is a risk of flight all the more unwarranted,” his team said.
Last week, the United States Attorney's Office of the Western District of Arkansas wrote in a release that Duggar "allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material." The release said that "Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019."
If convicted, Duggar faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count.
His next hearing is May 5.
“19 Kids and Counting” until it was pulled from the network in 2015 over revelations Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. His parents said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized.
“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,” Josh said in a May 2015 statement.
Later that year, Duggar apologized for a pornography addiction and cheating on his wife, Anna, after it was uncovered he had an Ashley Madison account, which facilitates extramarital affairs.
He later apologized and checked himself into a rehabilitation center.