Former reality TV star Josh Duggar was convicted Thursday Download and possess child sexual abuse images on your work computer.
A federal jury in Fayetteville, Arkansas, found 33-year-old Duggar guilty of one count of receiving and possessing child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 per charge when he is sentenced at a later date.
“We appreciate the extended jury deliberations, respect the jury’s verdict, and intend to appeal,” Duggar’s legal team said in a statement to NBC News following the ruling.
Duggar pleaded not guilty to federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography in Arkansas in April. Federal prosecutors have confirmed that Duggar downloaded a Linux partition on his laptop in order to circumvent a computer program that monitors Internet use.
Evidence presented to the court included records of Duggar’s use of the Internet, which included downloading photos, sending personal messages, and saving photos.
Duggar’s lawyers denied the allegations during the trial, saying that someone else had downloaded the photos and that Duggar’s personal devices were free of any illegal substances.
In the second week of his trial, Duggar family friend Popeye Holt testified that he admitted to molesting underage girls during a conversation in 2003, according to NBC affiliate KNWA.
Bobby Holt told the court that Duggar told them he touched several girls under their pants and underwear, according to the Kuwait News Agency (KNWA).
Duggar’s defense filed a petition to remove Holt from the witness list in November, citing the cleric’s privilege. The lawsuit states that any statements allegedly made to Holt and her husband were made after Duggar’s father sought their spiritual advice.
According to the petition, Duggar’s father and Holt’s husband were Church elders. Prosecutors disputed the defense’s request, saying in a separate file that Holtz were among the family’s closest friends.
US District Judge Timothy Brooks denied the request and ruled to allow evidence of previous harassment allegations against Duggar to be presented at trial. Brooks said in his order that the previous allegations were “evidence of the defendant’s sexual interest in minor children.”
Duggar appeared on a TLC network reality show with his family called “19 Kids and Counting” that ran from 2008 and 2015. The show chronicled the lives of Jim Pope and Michelle Duggar and their nineteen children, Duggar being the eldest, often centering around the family’s religious beliefs as devout Baptists.
In 2015, following In Touch magazine’s report that he had been investigated for allegedly molesting his four younger sisters and a babysitter, Duggar released a statement saying he had “acted without excuse” as a teenager. An Arkansas police report indicated that Duggar was investigated in 2006 when he was 18 years old.
Also in 2015, after the apparent hack of Ashley Madison’s extramarital affairs website, it was revealed that Duggar frequents the site. He issued a statement following reports from The Hollywood Reporter and Joker saying he was “extremely ashamed of the double life I was living” and apologized to his wife.
According to his mother’s blog at the time, he was admitted to a rehab center soon after.
Associated Press Contributed.