Josh Duggar has pleaded not guilty to two charges of child pornography, and his attorneys have said they intend to "fight back" in court

By Eric Todisco
May 06, 2021 11:24 AM
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Josh Duggar is heading to trial this summer as he faces charges for receiving and possessing child pornography.

The former 19 Kids and Counting star, 33, was arrested on April 29 and has pleaded not guilty to two charges: one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that Josh will be released from an Arkansas detention center, though he must remain with third party custodians, Lacount and Maria Reber, and cannot see his six children without pregnant wife Anna present.

A pretrial hearing is set for July 1, while the trial is scheduled to begin on July 6.

He 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, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

"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 previously obtained by PEOPLE. 

josh duggar
Josh Duggar
| Credit: Patsy Lynch/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Josh appeared at a virtual detention hearing in Arkansas and was told by Judge Christy Comstock that he must be confined to the homes of Lacount and Reber — described in court as "close friends" of the Duggar family — and be monitored with GPS tracking.

The judge also noted that she "cannot in good conscience" release Josh to Anna and their six children — Maryella Hope, 17 months, Mason Garrett, 3½, Meredith Grace, 5½, Marcus Anthony, 7½, Michael James, 9½, and Mackynzie Renée, 11.

However, Josh has been granted "unlimited contact" with his children, so long as Anna is present. He may not see any other minor child, including his nieces and nephews.

anna duggar, josh duggar
Josh and Anna Duggar
| Credit: Anna Duggar/Instagram

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During the hours-long hearing, prosecutors claimed that a forensic examination of Josh's devices, including an HP computer and a Macbook that included a backup of an iPhone 8, allegedly found multiple files containing child pornography had been downloaded.

Josh's devices were seized by Homeland Security in March 2020, and agent Gerald Faulkner provided a summary of the forensic analysis in testimony at the hearing. According to Faulkner, the files included "a series of child sexual abuse material involving minor children ranging from about 18 months of age to 12 years of age."

"And I can say in 11 years of doing this and the thousands and thousands of child pornography images and videos I've had unfortunately to see, the … series ranks in the top five of the worst of the worst that I've ever had to examine," the agent said.

josh duggar
Josh Duggar
| Credit: D Dipasupil/Getty

Josh, the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 kids, has faced various legal battles and controversies over the years.

In May 2015, he apologized for his "wrongdoing" following the release of a 2006 police report that revealed 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.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.