After months of delays, Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial is set to begin one week from day.
Josh’s legal team did everything in its power to try and have the charges against him thrown out before the case went to trial.
And there was a time when it looked as though Josh might accept a plea deal that would enable him to serve a lighter sentence.
Both of those ships have sailed, however, and jury selection is now scheduled to begin on November 30.
On Monday, local Fox affiliate KNWA reported that Judge Timothy L. Brooks wrapped up what should be the last of several pretrial hearings.
These proceedings were often contentious in nature, and efforts by Josh’s legal team to weaken the defense’s case yielded mixed results.
At the first hearing held in early November, the judge denied five motions to dismiss evidence against Josh.
The defense had claimed that the evidence was handled improperly or gathered in a way that violated Josh’s civil rights.
The judge wasn’t having it, and all five pieces of evidence will now be shown at trial.
But at the second of the three trials held this month, Josh’s legal team scored some major victories.
Judge Brooks ruled that Josh’s past admissions of porn addiction could not be used against him in court, a decision that seriously hampers the defense’s ability to establish a pattern of problematic behavior.
The judge also ruled that Josh’s lawyers will be allowed to blame one of his co-workers for the explicit images that were found on Josh’s work computer.
Prosecutors had argued that this would result in a situation in which both sides would wind up litigating the actions of a third party, who will not be present in the courtroom.
But Judge Brooks decided that the making a case for the co-worker’s guilt could be essential to the defense’s ability to establish reasonable doubt.
And so, we wound up with a situation in which Josh scored some unexpected wins just one week before the start of his long-awaited trial — wins that made critics of the Duggar family very nervous about the possibility of an acquittal.
Monday’s hearing was mostly a neutral affair, as the judge outlined the parameters of the the trial and both sides agreed on things like the length of opening arguments.
Despite the defense’s appeal for 45 minute opening arguments, both sides eventually agreed to limit their comments to 30 minutes.
The judge then went down a list of witnesses for both sides and confirmed their connections to the case.
The defense’s side includes two private investigators hired by Josh’s lawyers, a computer forensics expert, and a person who had access to Josh’s office prior to the Homeland Security raid that took place in November of 2019.
Presumably, that person will help make the defense’s case that the images found on Josh’s computer did not belong to him.
There were multiple witnesses on both sides who were not discussed at the hearing.
That means it’s still possible that Jim Bob Duggar will be called to testify by the prosecution.
The defense had argued against a subpoena being issued to the Duggar patriarch, but it’s unclear how the judge ruled on that matter.
Needless to say, Josh’s legal team has quite a winning streak going as the case heads to trial.
If he’s convicted, Josh faces 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 for each count against him.
The acquittal rate is low in trials like this one, so the defense is still very much fighting an uphill battle.
But the sad fact is that this seemed like an open-and-shut case just a few weeks ago, and that is definitely no longer the case.