Duggar trial focusing on computer where child porn was found

Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A desktop computer found with child pornography at former reality TV star Josh Duggar’s workplace also included an operating system that could allow a user to circumvent an accountability application that monitored internet usage, computer analysts testified.

Duggar, 33, is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography and faces up 20 years in prison on each count if convicted. His federal trial began this week in northwest Arkansas.

Duggar, who was featured on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” show, was charged in April. Prosecutors say child pornography was downloaded to the computer at the used-car lot where Duggar worked in May 2019.

Computer analysts told the jury Thursday that a Linux operating system and partition were installed on the desktop computer that allowed it to evade a tracking program. The partition essentially split the computer’s hard drive into a public-facing side that was business-related and included the tracking program and a second side that used the Linux system, the analysts said.

James Fottrell of the Department of Justice told jurors that sexually explicit photos and videos of children were found on the Linux side of the computer, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

But defense attorneys for Duggar have argued that someone else downloaded or placed the child pornography onto the work computer, noting that no child pornography was found on Duggar’s phone or laptop.

“If you like a mystery, then this is the case for you,” Justin Gilfand, representing Duggar, told jurors in his opening statement earlier this week. “This is a classic, old fashioned whodunit.”

Testimony was to continue Friday.

TLC pulled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 over revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar’s parents said he confessed to the fondling and apologized. U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks ruled earlier this week that jurors could hear details of that abuse in the child pornography trial.

“The child pornography victims in this case are approximately the same ages as the victims of defendant’s hands-on child-molestation offenses,” Brooks’ order allowing the testimony said. “Accordingly, the prior act evidence is probative of defendant’s sexual interest in underage children and his propensity for exploiting young girls.”

In 2015, Duggar publicly apologized for his pornography addiction and for cheating on his wife, calling himself “the biggest hypocrite ever.”

Duggar’s trial begins as his father, Jim Bob Duggar, is running in a special election for a vacant state Senate seat in northwest Arkansas. Jim Bob Duggar was also featured prominently on the TLC show and previously served in the Arkansas House. The primary election for the open seat is Dec. 14.

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