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Supreme Court declines to hear Josh Duggar’s child porn appeal

Supreme Court declines to hear Josh Duggar’s child porn appeal

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from former reality TV star Josh Duggar who asked the court to overturn his child pornography conviction.

Duggar and his family — and their devout Christian culture — were the focus of the show “19 Kids and Counting” on TLC. He was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after he was convicted of receiving and possessing child sex abuse materials, according to court documents.

The court issued its decision not to hear the case on Monday.

In Duggar’s request to have his conviction tossed out, he argued that a former employee with a sex offense conviction was responsible for the illegal materials federal agents found on his computer after they searched his Little Rock business in 2019, CNN reports.

The trial court that heard Duggar’s case refused to allow him to introduce the employee’s prior conviction as evidence unless he could prove that the employee had access to the computer in question.

Josh Duggar at the Washington County, Arkansas Detention Center. The US Supreme Court refused to hear Duggar’s appeal asking to have his child pornography conviction overturned
Josh Duggar at the Washington County, Arkansas Detention Center. The US Supreme Court refused to hear Duggar’s appeal asking to have his child pornography conviction overturned

The former reality TV star appealed the decision, but it was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

The appeals court ruled that the judge in the case struck the right balance by allowing the former employee to be questioned without bringing up the past conviction. The court also rejected Duggar’s challenge to the qualifications of the analyst who testified that metadata on the former reality star’s iPhone connected him to the crime.

Duggar’s attorneys also argued that statements he made to investigators during the search of the dealership should not have been allowed at trial since his attorney wasn’t present. Prosecutors said Duggar asked the agents, “‘What is this all about? Has somebody been downloading child pornography?” and that he declined to say whether he had looked at such material online, comments that were later used as evidence in the trial.

The appeals panel said that although Duggar was read his rights, the agents questioning him made it clear that he wasn’t in custody and was free to leave. The panel also noted that he wasn’t arrested at the end of his questioning.

“To the contrary, he ended the interview on his own and then left the dealership — hardly an option available to someone in custody,” the court ruled.

Duggar then appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the ruling that prevented him from introducing his employee’s previous conviction at trial violated the 6th Amendment by depriving him of his right to present a full defense in court.

His appeal was declined by the Supreme Court without comment or dissent.

TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting in 2015 following allegations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter years earlier.

Authorities began investigating the abuse, which allegedly took place years earlier, after receiving a tip from a family friend but concluded that the statute of limitations on any possible charges had expired.

Duggar’s parents said after the allegations resurfaced in 2015 that he had confessed to the fondling and apologized privately. Duggar then apologized publicly for unspecified behavior and resigned as a lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. Months later, he also publicly apologized for cheating on his wife and admitted to having a pornography addiction, for which he then sought treatment.


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