FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday in the federal trial for former reality TV star Josh Duggar, who faces child pornography charges.
Duggar, who appeared in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” was charged in April with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography.
A jury was seated in the case Tuesday, which is being tried in Fayetteville in northwest Arkansas. U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks had yet to rule on whether the jury can hear about allegations that Duggar sexually assaulted a girl in 2003, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Prosecutors want the jury to hear testimony from a Duggar family friend in whom Duggar confided. But Duggar’s defense attorneys say Duggar was never charged and that the allegations have no relevance to the child pornography case.
Duggar, 33, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count if convicted.
A federal Homeland Security agent in May testified that pornographic images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, had been downloaded in May 2019 by a computer at a car dealership that Duggar owned.
Duggar has pleaded not guilty in the case and his attorneys have said they plan to defend his case “aggressively and thoroughly.”
TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 over revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar’s parents said he confessed to the fondling and apologized.
Duggar’s trial begins as his father, Jim Bob Duggar, is running 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. The primary election for the open seat is Dec. 14.