FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On May 18, the prosecution filed a pair of motions with the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fayetteville one week before the sentencing of Josh Duggar, 34, after his 2021 conviction on a pair of child pornography charges.
The defense sentencing memorandum filed on May 11 made several objections to the government’s memo, which explained enhancements to Duggar’s charges that warrant a harsher sentence. In the filing, the prosecution addressed each of those objections in depth.
First, the defense objected to a “sadistic-or-masochistic enhancement”. The government’s filing notes that evidence proves that “Duggar downloaded multiple videos depicting just that,” and continues with an explicit description of specific files, including some containing “unquestionably sadistic abuse” of prepubescent girls.
“Duggar makes no attempt to grapple with this evidence or controlling precedent,” the motion notes. “And his objection should be overruled on the record before the Court.”
In the following section, the issue of the number of images he downloaded is addressed again. The defense has maintained that Duggar downloaded 127 images, while the prosecution has stated on multiple occasions that the total was actually over 600.
“Duggar’s objection is legally irrelevant and factually incorrect,” the prosecution says of that matter. “And it should therefore be overruled on the record before the Court.”
Third was the defense’s objection to a “pattern-of-activity enhancement”, which the defense memo claimed “is based on unreliable reporting from a ‘tabloid magazine.'” The government notes that this enhancement is supported by “the unrebutted testimony of Bobye Holt,” the family friend who testified regarding accusations of molestation Duggar committed when he was a teenager. The motion adds that her testimony “was corroborated by the self-serving testimony of his own father.”
“Even the most cursory review of legal precedent confirms that this enhancement can and should be applied,” the document declares.
The defense’s sentencing memo also argued that the court “should vary downward from the Guidelines” at sentencing. The government notes that this request “relies on claims from his wife, his mother, and others that he is ‘deeply devoted’ to his faith and family.”
The prosecution goes on to address the fact that Duggar noted that he “grew up ‘in front of television cameras’ and appears to suggest that his crimes are ‘related to the challenges associated with being a child whose everyday life is viewed by the public and, in certain instances, being criticized by the media and complete strangers.'”
These claims only underscore the appropriateness of the Government’s sentencing recommendation. Indeed, his supportive family and public-facing and privileged lifestyle make his pattern of criminal conduct all the more baffling. Despite achieving some level of fame through reality television as an adult, he is better known at this point for his behavior outside his family’s show, including his sexual improprieties and criminal sexual conduct.
More importantly, none of these letters meaningfully grapple with his crimes or his sexual proclivities toward prepubescent girls. At least one suggests that ‘enemies’ threatened by his ‘quiet display of conservative values’ are targeting him while simultaneously advancing his impossible theory that ‘an unscrupulous young man’ framed him. Many more describe his conviction generally as an unfortunate happenstance — something that has simply befallen him despite his best efforts to avoid it. That is precisely the problem.
Absent some recognition from Duggar of his crimes and his need to address his demonstrated and long-standing sexual interest in children, it is unlikely that that he will ever view his conviction as anything other than proof that he needs to be more circumspect and secretive the next time he engages in conduct involving child sexual abuse.Prosecution’s response to defense sentencing memorandum, filed on May 18
The prosecution response also called it “equally mystifying” that the defense filing compared Duggar’s situation to cases in which courts found reduced sentences appropriate, noting that “nothing remotely close to those circumstances exists” in the prior cases the defense cited.
The filing also addressed the defense’s claim that the lowest possible sentence would be appropriate because Duggar will “be subject [to] supervised release and suffer the ‘humiliation’ of his conviction,” stating that those arguments “miss the mark entirely.”
The government also cites studies that show that sex offenders are “four times more likely than other violent criminals to recommit their crimes.”
The filing concluded by asking the court to overrule the defense team’s objections and again recommended the maximum 20-year sentence.
In an additional filing, the prosecution requested that Duggar forfeit the HP desktop computer that was seized from his car lot and taken into evidence. On November 1, 2021, the government filed a Bill of Particulars with the court before the trial, providing notice to the defendant that it sought forfeiture of the computer.
The motion noted that the computer is subject to forfeiture due to “a preponderance of the evidence” showing that it was involved in Duggar’s illegal conduct. If the defense contests the filing, the government asked the court to address the issue at the time of sentencing.
The motion was submitted by U.S. Attorney David Fowlkes and signed by prosecuting attorneys Dustin Roberts, Carly Marshall and William Clayman.
Duggar was found guilty on two child pornography charges in December 2021. He remains in custody at the Washington County jail while awaiting his May 25 sentencing.