Josh Duggar‘s child pornography trial began on Tuesday with jury selection, and just hours before the disgraced star arrived to court, his attorneys filed legal documents that attempt to prohibit a witness from delivering further testimony.
In a supplemental brief filed on Nov. 30, Duggar’s attorneys request that “any further testimony” from witness Bobye Holt be prohibited. The request comes just one day after Holt testified at an evidentiary hearing held on Monday, where Josh’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, also took the stand.
“The testimony adduced by the parties at the evidentiary hearing reveals that any statements made to Bobye Holt and/or Jim Holt by Duggar or Jim Bob Duggar were made to them in their capacity as spiritual advisors with the expectation that the communications would be kept confidential.
“As such, any such statements are shielded from disclosure by the clergy privilege and, therefore, Duggar respectfully requests that this Court prohibit the Government from eliciting any further testimony from Bobye concerning these purported conversations,” the documents state.
Josh’s attorneys Justin Gelfand and Travis Story go on to claim it is “undisputed” that Jim Holt and Jim Bob Duggar were “church elders of the Bible Grace Fellowship Church” and that Bobye “participated in sessions with her husband and church members for the purpose of providing spiritual guidance on a regular basis.”
Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar pose during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. The former “19 Kids and Counting” star’s trial for child pornography charges against him began on Tuesday. (Kris Connor)
They explain that testimony from Monday discussed the meeting that was held between the parties that involved discussions of allegations involving Josh “was initiated by a phone call from Jim Bob to Jim – who, in addition to being a church elder, was also an ordained minister and a chaplain.”
“Bobye testified that when Jim Bob called Jim to schedule the meeting, she overheard the conversation on speakerphone. Jim Bob testified that the purpose of his call was to seek spiritual guidance for Duggar,” the documents state.
Additionally, the court docs state that Bobye “testified that nearly two years after that initial meeting, her family invited Duggar to stay at their home in Little Rock.” Bobye testified that “she wanted to give Duggar spiritual advice,” and that she did so even when her husband, Jim Holt, “fell asleep,” according to the documents.
Josh Duggar, 33, is facing two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Josh’s attorneys claim that testimony “makes clear that Jim Bob, and by extension, Duggar – who was a child when he allegedly “confessed” (Bobye’s characterization) – reasonably believed both Jim and Bobye were spiritual leaders of the church.”
On Tuesday, Josh was spotted entering the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
In a video shared to Twitter of his entrance into the court, Josh, 33, can be seen wearing a navy suit. He was holding hands with his wife, who was donning a black dress. Both were wearing face coverings.
The reality star’s child pornography trial begins on Tuesday with jury selection.
Duggar was arrested in Arkansas in late April. U.S. Marshals “assisted” in the arrest. (Washington County Police Department)
He 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.
Fines could total $500,000.
Josh was arrested in Arkansas in late April. U.S. Marshals “assisted” in the arrest. He was never previously charged with any crimes, but he was accused of molesting a number of young women, some being his younger sisters.
TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 over revelations that Josh had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Josh’s parents said he confessed to the fondling and apologized.
The Associated Press contributed to this report