Feds Want Jury to Hear About Josh Duggar's Past Scandals
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As Josh Duggar’s Child Porn Trial Looms, Feds Want Jury to Know Why He Once Called Himself the ‘Biggest Hypocrite Ever’

Josh Duggar is seen in a Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot.

With Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial slated for late November, federal prosecutors want to make sure jurors also hear about the ex-“19 Kids and Counting” star’s reported molestation of his sisters and self-described “addiction” to explicit images.

“This Became a Secret Addiction”

Reeling from the embarrassing leak of his hacked profile on the extramarital affair site Ashley Madison in 2015, Duggar played the penitent and released a statement calling himself the “biggest hypocrite ever.” The revelations surfaced months after reports that Duggar molested four of his sisters and his babysitter.

“While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” Duggar said more than half a decade ago. The public fallout from that episode led him to install a software called Covenant Eyes to keep his compulsively wandering eyes away from the internet’s most illicit corners.

Five years later, prosecutors say, Duggar defeated the anti-porn software to commit two federal crimes: possessing and receiving videos and images depicting the horrendous sexual abuse and rape of children “as young as toddlers.”

On Wednesday, prosecutors asked a federal judge to let them invoke the ex-“19 Kids and Counting” star’s scandals of old to prove his allegedly criminal conduct.

“The defendant subsequently admitted his addiction to internet pornography to numerous witnesses the Government intends to call at trial,” prosecutors wrote in a 7-page motion on Wednesday.

The government calls that evidence necessary to explain why Duggar installed Covenant Eyes on his HP computer, which would have alerted his wife Anna Duggar as his “accountability partner” if he accessed obscene material. Prosecutors claim the husband went to great lengths to work around it, installing a Linux partition on the terminal where he could access the Tor browser, which in turn allowed him to access material depicting the sexual abuse of children on the Dark Web. He also installed the peer-to-peer program uTorrent on the Linux side of the partition, prosecutors say.

“‘Addiction’ to Pornography Is Not a Recognized Disorder”

Though seeking to introduce statements about his so-called addiction, prosecutors hastened to note that they did not mean that in any clinical sense.

“Importantly, the Government observes that an ‘addiction’ to pornography is not a recognized disorder within the context of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM),” the memo states. “Therefore, a publicly stated ‘addiction’ to pornography is akin to a statement of habit as opposed to a prior bad act, crime, or wrongful conduct.”

Josh Duggar’s statements about his “addiction” should not be considered for the truth of the matter asserted, so much as an “admission of a party opponent,” prosecutors say.

Authorities claim to have found the HP computer containing the child sexual abuse materials while searching Duggar’s car dealership on Nov. 8, 2019.

Having lost an attempt to suppress the evidence at trial, Duggar has tried to raise doubt about whether he was the one using the HP at his workplace, which he said could have been accessed by three other people. The government plans to call those witnesses at trial, and it separately asked the court not to allow his defense team to claim they may have been behind the illegal downloads.

“Any such evidence is nothing more than wishful speculation based on bare suspicion, which is inadmissible under the legal precedent cited herein,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts wrote.

In yet another filing, prosecutors ask to introduce evidence of “prior child molestation conduct.” The document is slim on details, but the reference is unmistakable.

“Specifically, the government notices its intent to introduce evidence that in approximately 2002 and 2003, before he committed the offenses charged in the indictment in this case and while living in Arkansas, the defendant attempted to and did commit a crime as defined by Arkansas state law involving contact between any part of the defendant’s body and a child’s genitals or anus—namely, sexual assault in the second degree,” prosecutors wrote.

The chronology matches up with the years outlined in a police report obtained by In Touch Weekly stating that Josh Duggar was 14 years old when he confessed to his father about groping his sisters’ breasts and vaginal areas. Duggar since apologized for unspecified “wrongdoing” as a teenager following the report.

Read the memos, below:

(Washington County, Arkansas jail mugshot)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.