Both sides rest in Josh Duggar child pornography trial

The defence rested Tuesday in the Arkansas federal trial of former reality TV star Josh Duggar after a prosecutor sharply questioned a computer expert during the state’s cross-examination.

Duggar, 33, is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted. His federal trial began last week. The prosecution rested its case Monday, and Duggar’s lawyers began calling witnesses shortly after.

Under questioning by Duggar’s lawyers, forensic computer analyst Michele Bush said the computer where child pornography was downloaded could have been accessed remotely. The defence has argued that someone else downloaded or placed the child pornography onto the computer at Duggar’s workplace, noting that no child pornography was found on Duggar’s phone or laptop.

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But Bush acknowledged to prosecutors that the 10 years of experience she claimed as a forensic computer analyst included time as a college student, KNWA-TV reported.

Bush told the defence that she had testified numerous times in court as an expert witness. But when challenged by prosecutor William Clayman on how many times she had testified in a federal criminal court case, she first said she would have to check her resumé, then admitted under follow-up questioning that the Duggar case might be her first, the station reported.

Closing arguments were scheduled for Wednesday with jury deliberations to follow.

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The second day of Bush’s testimony came hours after a Duggar family friend testified that Duggar admitted in 2003 to molesting four young girls, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Duggar, featured on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting show, was charged in April. Prosecutors say child pornography was downloaded to the computer in May 2019.

TLC pulled the reality TV show in 2015 over revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. In 2015, Duggar publicly apologized for his pornography addiction and cheating on his wife, calling himself “the biggest hypocrite ever.”

Duggar’s trial is happening as his father, Jim Bob Duggar, runs in a special election for a vacant state Senate seat in northwest Arkansas. Jim Bob Duggar was also featured prominently on the TLC show and previously served in the Arkansas House.

Jim Bob Duggar is one of four Republicans seeking their party’s nomination. Early voting began Tuesday, and the primary is set for Dec. 14.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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