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Josh Duggar Pleads Not Guilty After Being Formally Charged in Arkansas Court

Lindsay Weinberg
·4 min read
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Josh Duggar's latest legal situation is just beginning.

On Friday, April 30, an arraignment of the 33-year-old reality star was conducted via Zoom in federal court, Western District of Arkansas.

Although the two charges brought against Duggar were not read, per the request of his attorneys, he pleaded not guilty on both counts. Duggar is expected to remain in custody pending an upcoming court date on May 5. One stipulation the judge requested is for Duggar to have a third-party custodian, should he be released on bond. Also, the residence where he would stay must be devoid of minor children.

On April 29, federal agents arrested the former 19 Kids and Counting star, and U.S. Marshals placed him in custody at the Washington County Detention Center, according to legal records obtained by E! News. No bail was set at the time. The FBI had no comment to E! News following the arrest.

But according to an indictment obtained by E! News, the grand jury charged Josh with receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography in 2019. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Josh faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.00 on each count.

"We intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly," Josh's attorney said in a statement to E! News. "In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you're accused, you can fight back in the courtroom—and that is exactly what Josh intends to do."

The Duggar family also released a statement that read, "We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. 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."

Josh, who is expecting his seventh baby with his wife Anna Duggar, has faced criminal accusations in the past but has never been charged before.

The Complete Duggar Family Tree

In 2015, a resurfaced police report from 2006 stated that Josh was accused of molesting five girls when he was a teen. Sisters Jill Duggar, now 29, and Jessa Duggar, now 28, identified as victims of Josh's sexual misconduct during an interview with Megyn Kelly.

At the time, Jessa was interviewed on Fox's The Kelly File about her brother's "very wrong" actions, as she put it, but said she wanted to "speak up in his defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist." She explained, "I'm like that is so overboard and a lie really, I mean people get mad at me for saying that but I can say this because I was one of the victims."

Jill remarked, "I was scared. I [was] sad because this was my older brother, who I love a lot, and so it's like, conflicting."

Josh Duggar mug shot
Josh Duggar mug shot

During the same interview, patriarch Jim Bob said that Josh, then 14, had confessed that he "improperly touched some of our daughters." Jim Bob said, "He was just curious about girls and he had gone in and touched them over their clothes while they were sleeping." Josh wasn't charged.

After Josh was arrested this week, Jill and her husband Derick Dillard released a statement to E! News that said, "We just found out this information yesterday. It is very sad."

Following the 2015 scandal, the family's TLC show was cancelled and Josh reportedly parted ways with his job in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Executive Director of FRC Action. His lobbying group gig is the most recent job listing on his apparent LinkedIn page.

Josh also apologized for claims from the five girls. "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my father and friends," he said in a statement to People.

However, that wasn't the only issue regarding Josh's reputation. He again encountered trouble during a Ashley Madison dating site hack in 2015. He'd been married to Anna for about seven years at that point.

After rumors spread of his extra-marital affair, he addressed the allegations in a statement. "I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. 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," he said. "I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him."

He later seemed to edit the apology to remove mention of his porn addiction.

E! News has reached out to Josh's attorney for comment.