Josh Duggar's Defense Team Moves to Delay Child Pornography Trial, Prosecution Responds
The former TLC star's lawyers have requested that his trial be moved from this July to February 2022
Last week, Duggar's defense team, led by attorney Justin Gelfand, filed a motion in the Western District of Arkansas Court to delay the trial, which was previously scheduled for July 6, until February 2022, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.
In the motion, Gelfand said the defense has hired a computer forensics expert to review the case evidence and needs more time to complete the process.
"The defense has retained an independent computer forensic expert who must conduct a computer forensic examination of each of the devices at issue — a time-consuming process that requires review at a government facility for the one device the Government alleges contained child pornography," the motion reads.
The prosecution filed a response on Monday suggesting a "reasonable continuance" of about three months to allow for the expert to review the digital evidence, stating that postponing the trial until next year "would result in unnecessary delay."
Gelfand did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Elsewhere in the motion, the defense said it requires "additional time to complete its review of the discovery and, separately, to pursue certain investigative leads based on the discovery."
"In particular, based on the discovery disclosed to date, it appears there are certain key witnesses whom the Government did not interview and certain sources of possible evidence the Government did not obtain during its investigation," the motion continues. "Thus, the defense requires additional time to navigate discovery issues with the Government and, if necessary, to raise any discovery disputes with this Court sufficiently in advance of trial."
In reference to this claim, the prosecution said in their Monday response that "the Government has made timely and complete disclosure of all discovery material."
Gelfand also cited his own scheduling conflicts as a reason for delay: "Duggar's lead counsel, Justin Gelfand, has federal criminal trials scheduled to begin in July 2021, September 2021, October 2021, and November 2021 — all of which were scheduled in rapid succession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to hold federal jury trials at earlier dates."
"A continuance of approximately three (3) months will resolve most of defense counsel's calendar related issues," the government said in response. "Thereafter, if any remaining trials factually pose a conflict, a subsequent motion can be filed stating such with specificity. In that instance, the Court then could appropriately tailor the length of the continuance to the actual conflict, so as to not result in unnecessary delay."
The prosecution ultimately concluded that "there exists no legally or factually valid reason supporting a continuance until February of 2022."
In April, Duggar, 33, pleaded not guilty to charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
The 19 Kids and Counting alum faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines on each of the two counts if he is convicted, a total possible sentence of 40 years, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.
Duggar was released from jail one week after his April arrest. As he awaits trial, he is required to stay with third party custodians, Lacount and Maria Reber, and is confined to their home via GPS tracking.
He was additionally granted "unlimited contact" with his children — Mackynzie Renée, 11, Michael James, 9, Marcus Anthony, 7, Meredith Grace, 5, Mason Garrett, 3, and Maryella Hope, 17 months — provided that his wife Anna is present. However, he is not allowed to see any other minor children, including his many nieces and nephews.
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Duggar, who prosecutors believe had more than 200 images of children on his computer, is no stranger to controversy. In 2015, a 2006 police report that surfaced indicated he was investigated for molesting five underage girls, including sisters Jill Duggar Dillard and Jessa Duggar Seewald. He said at the time that he was "extremely sorry" for the "wrongdoing."
That same year, Duggar revealed that he cheated on Anna and admitted to struggling with an addiction to pornography after Gawker reported about his active accounts on Ashley Madison — a website that helps facilitate extramarital affairs.
A source told PEOPLE last month that Anna is "standing by" her husband and "thinks [he's] innocent."