Josh Duggar Child Porn Case: Prosecution Reportedly Seeks to Call Dad Jim Bob as a Witness

·4 min read

Josh Duggar appeared in federal court Thursday for the pre-trial hearing in his child sexual abuse material case — during which the prosecution revealed that one of their proposed witnesses is his father, Jim Bob Duggar.

Josh, 33, has been charged with receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material. He pleaded not guilty following an April arrest and was released pending his trial, set to begin on Nov. 30.

On Thursday, Judge Timothy L. Brooks ordered an evidentiary hearing with witnesses to be held one day before the trial, on Nov. 29, local news outlet KNWA reported.

The decision for an evidentiary hearing came about due to a dispute over the prosecution's notice that they may introduce evidence regarding Josh's past molestation scandal. In 2015, news broke that Josh had allegedly molested five underage girls as a teenager. Two of his sisters, Jill (Duggar) Dillard, now 30, and Jessa (Duggar) Seewald, now 29, later came forward as two of the victims.

josh duggar
josh duggar

Kris Connor/Getty Josh Duggar

The defense filed a motion to exclude any evidence regarding the scandal earlier this month. According to KNWA, during Thursday's hearing, one of Josh's lawyers, Justin Gelfand, said he "disagrees adamantly" with the prosecution's notice about the molestation scandal and their plan to call on two witnesses, one of whom is Jim Bob.

Josh is the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children, who were previously featured on TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. Following Josh's arrest earlier this year, the couple issued a statement saying: "It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family."

RELATED: Jim Bob Duggar Announces Run for Arkansas State Senate amid Son Josh's Child Porn Case

Jim Bob Duggar (R) and wife Michelle Duggar visit "Extra" at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on March 11, 2014 in New York City.
Jim Bob Duggar (R) and wife Michelle Duggar visit "Extra" at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on March 11, 2014 in New York City.

D Dipasupil/Getty Jim Bob Duggar (left) and Michelle Duggar

josh-duggar.jpg
josh-duggar.jpg

Kris Connor/Getty

William G. Clayman, speaking for the prosecution, said there is a "preponderance of evidence" regarding the molestation scandal and added that the witnesses would testify to "multiple instances" of past child molestation, per KNWA.

Brooks said he would be "very hesitant" to make a ruling just yet, thus ordering the Nov. 29 hearing. However, he did note that he found "pretty strong case law" to support the prosecution's desire to admit the evidence.

RELATED: Josh Duggar Heads to Court Hand-in-Hand with Wife Anna for Pre-Trial Hearing in Child Porn Case

Josh has been accused of downloading files depicting child sex abuse on May 14, 15 and 16 of 2019 on the computer at his then-workplace, a used car lot in Arkansas. Prosecutors believe he had more than 200 explicit images of children on the computer.

During a May detention hearing, Homeland Security agent Gerald Faulkner described the files allegedly found on Josh's device as within the "top five of the worst of the worst" he had ever examined.

The agent also said Josh downloaded torrent files that included "a series of child sexual abuse material involving minor children ranging from about 18 months of age to 12 years of age."

According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Josh's lawyers moved to exclude Faulkner's statement about the images being "the worst of the worst" from the upcoming trial, a request the judge ultimately granted.

RELATED: Anna Duggar Announces Birth of 7th Baby with Husband Josh Duggar Ahead of His Child Porn Trial

josh duggar
josh duggar

D Dipasupil/Getty Josh Duggar

If convicted of the charges against him, Josh faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines on each of the two counts for a total possible sentence of 40 years, according to an April press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

Amid Josh's legal woes, TLC canceled the family's reality series, Counting On. In their statement, the network said it felt it was "important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately."

Their previous show, 19 Kids and Counting, was canceled in 2015 after Josh's molestation scandal came to light.

RELATED: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Speak Out After TLC Cancels Counting On

Also in 2015, Josh publicly confessed to cheating on Anna and struggling with an addiction to pornography after Gawker reported about his active accounts on Ashley Madison — a website that helps to facilitate affairs.

Earlier this week, the judge in his current case granted Josh's motion to exclude the past statement about having a pornography "addiction," meaning it cannot be used during the trial.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.