Josh Duggar trial: Judge rules past child molestation scandal can be introduced

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

The prosecution in Josh Duggar's child pornography case scored a key victory as opening statements are set to begin on Wednesday in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Details of the allegations against the former 19 Kids and Counting star are very disturbing as he's accused of downloading and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of kids.

A jury was seated in the case on Tuesday. Josh, 33, entered the federal courthouse holding hands with wife, Anna Duggar, who gave birth to their seventh child last month. Anna has remained by her husband's side through multiple scandals during their 13-year marriage, including when it was revealed he allegedly molested young girls as a teenager. Judge Timothy Brooks ruled Josh's "prior child molestation conduct" can be introduced at trial, according to Fox News.

In 2015, tabloid In Touch unearthed a police report from 2006 that claimed Josh molested five girls. The reality star apologized for "wrongdoing" at the time. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar admitted their eldest son "improperly touched" four of their daughters and a babysitter. TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting amid the controversy.

The prosecution hopes to establish a pattern of behavior and have the jury hear testimony from a Duggar family friend, Bobye Holt, in whom Josh confided. His defense team wanted the testimony prohibited citing "clergy privilege," but the motion was denied.

Jim Bob, who was subpoenaed to testify in an evidentiary hearing on Monday about the allegations, will not have to take the stand at trial. On the list of potential witnesses are Josh's siblings, Jill Duggar Dillard and Jedidiah "Jed" Duggar, but it's unclear if they are for the prosecution or defense. Bobye and her husband, Jim Holt, are also on the list.

Authorities say Josh downloaded images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, on his then-work computer in May 2019. More than 200 images were found. According to Rogers, Ark., news station KNWA-TV, the judge warned potential jurors that evidence shown during the trial will be difficult to see.

Josh is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count. Josh's cousin, Amy Duggar, says she's praying for "the ultimate sentence."

"Today is a heavy day," she wrote on her Instagram Stories. "This whole week will be. Next week will be too. Until justice is served."

In another post, she added, "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, I will repay thee. Please pray for the victims and for the truth to be revealed."

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