Child pornography trial starts for former reality TV star Josh Duggar

by Keane Eacobellis

In Arkansas, jury selection for the federal child pornography charges involving former reality star Josh Duggar is officially underway Tuesday.

Duggar was one of the central figures of 19 Kids and Counting, a TLC series featuring Duggar, his eighteen younger siblings, and parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — which started out in 2008 as 17 Kids and Counting and continued until 2015, when the scandal at the center of this court case came to light.

The trial was initially set to be held this past July, but as USA Today shared in its coverage, was postponed until November via a request from Duggar‘s defense team.

Duggar was charged with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography this past April. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

USA Today’s coverage also noted, “The case is being prosecuted in part by national initiative Project Safe Childhood, a program started in 2006 by the Department of Justice to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.”

TLC pulled 19 Kids and Counting, the series Duggar and his family starred in, from its programming schedule in 2015 due to earlier revelations that he’d molested four of his sisters as well as a family babysitter.

According to a tweet from KNWA-TV’s Garrett Fergesen, Duggar appeared with his wife in federal court Tuesday as jury selection commenced.

The Duggar family has issued statements following the accusations and revelations about their son through the years, with Jim Bob and Michelle sharing the following message on their website in May of this year.

“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”

The timing of the trial comes at a curious time for the family, as Jim Bob is currently running in a special election for an Arkansas State Senate seat.