"In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you're accused, you can fight back in the courtroom," his legal team said

By Adam Carlson
April 30, 2021 04:38 PM
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Josh Duggar's defense attorneys said after his arrest this week on child pornography charges that they intend to fight the accusations in court.

"He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly," the attorneys, Justin Gelfand, Travis W. Story and Greg Payne, said in a statement.

"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 legal team said.

The 33-year-old former 19 Kids and Counting star and eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — who faced a previous scandal after reports in 2015 that he molested five underage girls when he was a teenager — was arrested by agents with Homeland Security on Thursday, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Josh appeared for his initial hearing, via Zoom, on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

His attorney declined to have the judge read the charges against him, though federal prosecutors said he faces one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

He pleaded not guilty and remains in custody pending a bail hearing on Wednesday.

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

If released, he would not be allowed to live with minors, the judge said.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that Josh "allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material … [he] allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019."

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

The indictment against him, reviewed by PEOPLE, specifies those dates further, to between or around May 14 and May 16, 2019, in the Duggars' home state of Arkansas.

Josh could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison or a $250,000 fine per charge, if convicted. The investigation is being led by Homeland Security and the Northwest Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, prosecutors said.

In a statement to PEOPLE, TLC, which aired 19 Kids and Counting and first brought the Duggar family to national prominence, said:

"TLC is saddened to learn about the continued troubles involving Josh Duggar. 19 Kids and Counting has not aired since 2015. TLC cancelled the show on the heels of prior allegations against Josh Duggar and he has not appeared on-air since then."

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.