Josh Duggar Is on Trial

'19 Kids and Counting' star charged with receiving, possessing child porn
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2021 12:00 AM CST
Josh Duggar's Trial Begins
This undated photo provided by the Washington County (Ark.) Jail shows Joshua Duggar.   (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP, File)

The child pornography trial of former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar started Tuesday in Arkansas with jury selection. Duggar, 33 and a father of seven himself, was arrested in April and charged with receiving and possessing child porn. The two counts he faces each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars and $250,000 in fines, the New York Times reports. In 2015, allegations came to light that Duggar had molested several girls in his teenage years, and his parents acknowledged that four of Duggar's sisters were among the victims—but Duggar's lawyers asked during an evidentiary hearing Monday that testimony regarding those allegations be barred from the trial, KNWA reports.

The defense team asserts that Duggar talked openly about the molestation accusations with his father as well as the parents of one of the girls accusing him, all of whom are church leaders, with the idea that those conversations would be protected under "clergy privilege—also referred to as the priest-penitent privilege or the religious privilege," his lawyers said in a brief. Prosecutors, however, say this interpretation of that privilege "is so unprecedently overbroad as to render it unenforceable." The judge had not yet ruled on the matter as of Tuesday afternoon. Josh's wife, Anna, was at his side when he arrived at court Tuesday, Us reports. On the list of confirmed or potential witnesses at the trial are Duggar's siblings Jill Duggar Dillard and Jedidiah "Jed" Duggar, People reports. (Read more Josh Duggar stories.)

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