Jurors in the child pornography trial of former “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar entered deliberations Friday evening after deliberating for about six hours.
The four women and four men in the Bentonville, Ark., jury room listened as Duggar’s defense attorney asked them to consider whether an “indiscriminate” online sharing of some images may have contributed to his arrest.
His accuser, a minor female who appears to be an underage high school student, in 2003 said that Duggar, now a 30-year-old lobbyist in Arkansas, sexually abused her from 2004 through 2006.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney James P. Crown suggested that Duggar was a victim of child pornography piracy.
“There is no doubt that whatever these images are, you think it was Josh Duggar who downloaded them, that it was Josh Duggar who shared them. That is the presumption,” Crown said, addressing the jury.
The prosecution claimed that Duggar solicited unauthorized access to his personal email account on multiple occasions in search of child pornography.
With his parents as his witnesses, Duggar testified that he downloaded the images, which he said were not of child pornography.
His attorneys spent much of their time describing Duggar’s publicly available Internet history as he made it easier for pornography to be shared on his computers.
In particular, Crown cited an Internet search to make the point that Duggar searched for photos of children being raped by older men, as well as images of what was described as “prostitutes.”
It would be too difficult to define as child pornography, Crown said, adding, “You can’t pick and choose … you’ve got to put it all in a basket and say, ‘Is this child pornography?’ ”
He also contended that the teen Duggar was the one who downloaded porn after noticing its availability on his home computer.
In her direct testimony, Duggar insisted that his searches related to pornography of teen girls or boys without having any interest in involving in exploitation of children.
The female accuser testified that her parents shared the family email address with Duggar after he allegedly delivered an ultimatum — promise you never ask for privacy or lose access to the family computer — and that she wasn’t able to log into her account after that, leading to Duggar’s access.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Duggar had searched for over 14,000 pornographic images on a search engine between 2003 and 2005, including images of acts related to molestation. They have claimed he accessed those images in search of child pornography.
Duggar was known on the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” as the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s 19 children. The show went off the air in May following reports in June 2015 that Duggar had molested five girls, four of whom were his sisters, while he was a teenager.