- Josh Duggar’s defense team has been arguing with prosecutors for weeks over evidence.
- They want to see “auto-generated logs” on child sexual abuse images emailed to three officers.
- The former TLC star is charged with two counts of child pornography and will stand trial in November.
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In an effort to dig up evidence that could absolve Josh Duggar, the former TLC star’s defense team is seeking more information from the multiple police departments that prosecutors say downloaded child sexual abuse files from his IP address.
In a partial victory on Thursday, a federal judge granted the Duggar team’s request. Judge Timothy Brooks ruled that prosecutors could likely work with federal agents to obtain the information Duggar’s team wanted from the Jonesboro and Ozark police departments in Arkansas.
“The defense has persuaded the Court that the auto-generated logs emailed to the three officers could disclose information to the defense that may be either exculpatory or inculpatory,” Brooks ruled. He added that if no such logs exist, prosecutors should inform Duggar’s team.
Duggar, formerly of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty and was released from jail in May. His trial is due to begin in November.
At a detention hearing in May, a federal agent testified that Duggar downloaded and possessed 65 images of child pornography, as well as a two-minute video featuring young girls between the ages of 5 and 10. The agent told the court that one of the downloads was one of the worst pieces of child pornography he had witnessed in over 1,000 cases.
Duggar’s defense team has been bickering with prosecutors for weeks over evidence – specifically, a screenshot prosecutors provided showing that three police officers from three different Arkansas police departments had downloaded child sexual abuse images from an IP address linked to Duggar’s used car dealership.
Of those three departments, only the Little Rock Police Department contacted federal agents for a child pornography investigation, prosecutors said in an August 9 court filing.
Duggar’s team has raised questions about how and when police downloaded the child sexual abuse files and what they did with the material afterward.
Duggar’s team and prosecutors have been arguing for weeks over a screenshot
In a July 26 motion, Duggar’s attorneys noted that all three Arkansas police departments downloaded the files on the same day: May 14, 2019. Yet they noted that only the Little Rock Police Department referred the matter to the federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations, and they didn’t do so until five months later.
That timeline “[begs] the question of what transpired during the 5 months between May 2019 and October 2019,” Duggar’s attorneys argued. “In this day and age, it is exceedingly unlikely that no reports whatsoever were generated in these intervening months by any of the three law enforcement entities which allegedly downloaded this file.”
Duggar’s team said those reports, if they exist, are “potentially exculpatory” and “potentially favorable material evidence.”
Prosecutors have said they don’t possess “auto-generated logs sent to the officers” and don’t even know whether any exist. They have accused Duggar’s attorneys of misunderstanding their investigation and the charges against Duggar.
The other two officers from the Jonesboro and Ozark police departments “played no part in the investigation of this case and did not provide the prosecution team with any materials related to their activity,” prosecutors said.
Thursday’s ruling wasn’t entirely a win for Duggar’s team. The judge also denied several other requests from the defense attorneys, including one in which they asked for prosecutors’ screenshot to be provided in a “native format.”
“The court is uncertain what Mr. Duggar means by the term ‘native format,'” Brooks ruled, adding that the request was “too vague to be understood.”