Josh Duggar has pleaded not guilty to the charges of receiving and possessing child pornography

By Ally Mauch
April 30, 2021 03:51 PM
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Josh Duggar is facing a potential 40-year prison sentence. 

During his court appearance Friday, the former 19 Kids and Counting star pleaded not guilty to two charges: one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. (His attorneys declined to have the judge read out the charges against him.)

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas, Josh faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each of the two counts if he is convicted, making his total possible sentence 40 years.  

"Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment. He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly. 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," his attorneys, Justin Gelfand, Travis W. Story and Greg Payne, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. 

josh duggar
Josh Duggar
| Credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Josh, 33, was arrested by Homeland Security on Thursday and held in an Arkansas detention center. He will remain at the detention center in Washington County as he awaits a bond hearing, U.S Chief Magistrate Judge Erin L. Wiedemann said during the Friday hearing, 

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If Josh is released, the judge added that he will have to be "in a residence where there's no minor in the home," meaning he will not be allowed to return to his Arkansas home with his wife Anna Duggar and their six kids —  Maryella Hope, 5 months, Mason Garrett, 3½, Meredith Grace, 5½, Marcus Anthony, 7½, Michael James, 9½, and Mackynzie Renée, 11. 

josh duggar
Josh Duggar
| Credit: courtesy Washington county arkansas

Following the news of the charges against him Friday, Josh's parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar broke their silence on the "serious" accusations against their eldest son. 

"We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious," their joint statement read. "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."

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Josh Duggar.

The reality star, whose wife is currently pregnant with their seventh child, has faced various controversies since entering the public eye with his family on their TLC reality series.  

Most notably, in mid-May 2015, Josh apologized for his "wrongdoing" after a 2006 police report revealed that he had been investigated as a teen for inappropriately touching five underage girls. His sisters Jill, 29, and Jessa, 28, subsequently stepped forward as two of the victims.

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