Josh Duggar’s defense team has filed a motion for acquittal or a new trial. Duggar, the eldest son in the big family featured in TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” reality show, was convicted in December of downloading and possessing child sex abuse images.
Duggar’s legal team, led by defense attorney Justin Gelfand, filed the motion January 19.
In court documents obtained by TODAY Parents, Duggar’s team asked for an acquittal, as well as requesting a new trial if the acquittal is denied.
“The evidence elicited at trial does not support a conviction on either count — even in the light most favorable to the Government,” the motion reads. “The Government failed to adduce any evidence that Duggar ‘knew that the visual depictions were of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct’ —a necessary element for conviction of each count.”
Duggar, 33, was convicted on two charges: One charge of downloading the material, another charge for possessing it. Following the verdict, Duggar’s legal team announced their intention to appeal.
“We appreciate the jury’s lengthy deliberations, we respect the jury’s verdict, and we intend to appeal,” Duggar’s legal team said in a statement to NBC News.
Related: Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar break silence on Josh Duggar verdict
The motion cites “the Government’s failure to timely disclose material exculpatory evidence” related to a former employee of Duggar who worked at his car lot.
Duggar’s lawyers state that the former employee “had access to the car lot and the HP desktop computer during certain relevant time periods and that law enforcement had failed to meaningfully investigate the possibility that anyone other than Duggar may have committed the crimes charged,” according to the motion.
In April 2021, Duggar was arrested in connection with federal charges of receiving and possessing child sex abuse images.
During his pre-trial hearing, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkner, who has worked on more than 1,000 child exploitation cases in the last 11 years, testified that materials found on a computer belonging to Duggar included files that were the “top five worst I’ve ever had to examine” and included child sex abuse images and videos of minors as young as 18 months.
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Duggar, a father of seven, pled not guilty. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the two counts of which he was convicted. Duggar’s sentence has not yet been announced.
Duggar starred on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” until it was pulled from the network in 2015 over revelations Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, said he had confessed to the fondling and apologized.
Another show featuring the Duggar family, “Counting On,” was canceled in June 2021 after the charges against Josh Duggar were filed.
Kait Hanson is a contributing writer for TODAY.com. A graduate of Penn State University, she began her career in sports and happily wakes up at 6 a.m. for games thanks to the time change at her home in Hawaii. An island transplant originally from the Northeast, she has called Oahu home for nearly 10 years with her husband and two chocolate Labs. Follow her on Instagram.
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