The judge overseeing Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial on Wednesday ruled in favor of the government’s request to introduce evidence of his past molestation scandal.
Duggar’s trial began on Wednesday after the jury was selected at a lengthy hearing on Tuesday. Duggar, 33, is facing two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted on all counts, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count. He has pleaded not guilty.
A court filing dated Dec. 1 states that the government’s efforts to introduce evidence that Josh committed other acts of child molestation has been granted. Duggar’s request for the evidence to be excluded at trial was denied.
“For the reasons stated, the Court finds the evidence the Government seeks to introduce under Rule 414 is both relevant and admissible. Further, the Court finds that the admission of this evidence at trial will not violate Rule 403,” the court papers dated and signed by the judge on Dec. 1 state.
“It is therefore ordered that the Government’s Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence of the Defendant’s Prior Child Molestation Conduct is GRANTED, and Defendant’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Juvenile Allegations is DENIED.”
Josh, 33, is facing two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty. (Washington County Police Department)
An evidentiary hearing was held on Monday where Jim Bob Duggar and Bobye Holt, a family friend and the wife of church elder at the Duggar family’s former church, testified. Following the hearing, Duggar’s legal team argued that Holt should be considered a clergyperson and that her testimony should be protected by “clergy privilege.” However, the government claimed Holt stated on the stand that she was not a clergy member.
“The threshold issue in the instant case is whether Mrs. Holt qualifies as a ‘clergyperson.’ It is clear from her testimony – which the Court found very credible – that she was not a clergyperson at the time Defendant made certain disclosures to her about molesting children,” the ruling states.
Holt testified about two different conversations that she had with Duggar in 2003 and 2005, in which he allegedly told her that he molested children.
The ruling goes on to claim that testimony from Jim Bob Duggar “largely corroborated the testimony of Mrs. Holt.” Jim Bob, however, stated more than once in his testimony that he could not recall specific details of Josh’s confessions to him years ago about the “inappropriate touching.”
Josh Duggar is the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s 19 children. (Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
“The Court found Mr. Duggar’s selective lapse in memory to not be credible; he was obviously reluctant to testify against his son. In any event, his testimony is not necessary for the Government to introduce Rule 414 as evidence at trial; Mrs. Holt’s testimony is sufficient,” the filing states.
Arguments are set to kick off on Wednesday after a nine-hour hearing on Tuesday resulted in the selection of the jury.
Judge Timothy L. Brooks named the 28 potential or confirmed witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing, according to reports. Among them was Duggar’s sister Jill Dillard and brother Jedidiah. It is unclear if Duggar’s siblings will be called by the defense or prosecution, People reports.
Josh’s wife Anna recently gave birth to their seventh child. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
The jury consists of 12 jurors and four alternates. They were released from court on Tuesday night and are expected to resume their duties at 8:45 am on Wednesday.
The former “19 Kids and Counting” star is facing two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. If convicted on all counts, Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count.