Fayetteville, Ark (AFP) – A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the jurors in the trial of former reality TV star Josh Duggar on child pornography charges.
US District Judge Timothy Brooks has denied a request by Duggar’s attorney to prevent evidence being heard as his child pornography trial begins.
Duggar, who appeared on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting”, was so charged in April With two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography.
Prosecutors want the jury to hear testimony from a friend of Duggar’s family who testified at a pretrial hearing on Monday that Duggar told her in 2003 that he molested four girls. But Duggar’s lawyers said Duggar has not been charged and the allegations are unrelated to the child pornography case.
However, Brooks said the testimony is relevant to Duggar’s case of child pornography.
“The victims of child pornography in this case are approximately the same age as the victims of child molestation crimes committed by the defendants,” Brooks’ order read. “Accordingly, the evidence of the previous act proves the defendant’s sexual interest in minor children and his inclination to exploit young girls.”
During opening statements, Duggar’s attorney said another person had downloaded or placed images depicting child sexual abuse on his computer.
“If you like puzzle, this is your case,” Justin Gelfand, a representative for Duggar, told the jurors in his opening statement. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported. “This is a classic, old-fashioned murder.”
But federal prosecutors have provided details of records showing minute by minute activity on Duggar’s computer that alternates between sending personal messages, downloading child pornography and saving notes photos, the newspaper said.
Duggar, 33, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 per charge if convicted.
Federal Homeland Security Agent in May He testified that pornography Child sexual abuse images, including of young children, were downloaded in May 2019 by a computer at a car dealership owned by Duggar.
Duggar has pleaded not guilty in the case and his attorneys have said they plan to defend his case “vigorously and comprehensively”.
TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 due to revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar’s parents said he admitted to foreplay and apologized.
Duggar’s trial begins as his father, Jim Bob Duggar does Run in a special election to fill a vacancy in the Senate in Northwest Arkansas. Jim Bob Duggar also made a prominent appearance on the TLC show and previously served at the Arkansas House. Open seat primaries on December 14th.