Last week, Josh Duggar had one final chance to accept a plea deal and avoid going to trial.
The disgraced former reality star passed on the deal.
Josh’s jury trial is scheduled and will begin in late November.
There is one opportunity that he has to avoid going to trial and everything that comes with it.
Earlier this year, Josh Duggar’s attorneys pushed to delay the trial for as long as possible.
Originally scheduled to begin this summer, they asked the court to delay the trial until early next year.
Josh was clearly very comfortable living on home confinement in a sprawling mansion owned by a fellow cult member.
The court granted a delay, but not to the extreme extent that Josh’s defense team wanted.
The pre-trial conference is set for November 18.
The full trial will begin less than two weeks later, on November 30.
The thing about the pre-trial conference is that it will technically be another opportunity for Josh to avoid the trial.
There, he could amend his plea to “guilty.”
Because the purpose of a jury trial is to determine guilt, a plea in that direction would erase the need for it.
Technically, Josh could actually change their plea of “not guilty” to “guilty” at any time.
That means any time before the trial.
That also means any time during the trial.
It would be a huge waste of everyone’s time and effort and a lot of, one assumes, Jim Bob’s money.
That is an extremely unlikely outcome for Josh, for several reasons.
The first is simply timing: if he were going to plead guilty, he’d surely have done it by now.
It is also unlikely because it is expected that Anna will give birth to his billionth (sorry, seventh) child very soon.
Though they have never disclosed the due date, it’s entirely possible that Josh will have a new child before his trial begins.
Even the worst monsters generally want to see their newborns before facing possible incarceration.
There are also less timing-related reasons that Josh would not enter a guilty plea.
First, we have to acknowledge, for legal reasons, that he has not actually been found guilty.
Perhaps many investigators and the prosecutors made some sort of catastrophic, improbable mistake while following direct electronic evidence.
More realistically, Josh clearly thinks that his attorneys can mount a strong defense.
Whether he’s right or not won’t be seen until trial.
But they have spent months filing constant paperwork in an effort to pick apart the prosecution’s case and exclude evidence.
All of these very practical considerations may be missing the point.
Right now, Josh clearly has Anna wrapped around his little finger.
In order to keep her, and his few remaining supporters (they exist!) around, he must continue to insist that he is being railroaded.
An admission of guilt wouldn’t just be confessing that he downloaded photos and video of little girls being sexually abused for his own gratification.
That in and of itself would be bad enough. That media shows children’s lives being ruined.
Pleading guilty would also mean admitting that he has lied to Anna and to the rest of his family, and that no previous “counseling” worked.
Now, obviously none of the “counseling” in the past worked.
In the Duggar cult, problems are solved in two ways: abuse or prayer.
Josh’s past experiences with being rehabilitated have involved prayer and basically just doing odd jobs for other cult members.
Josh could be convicted as early as December.
If so, his wife Anna might stand by his side — as she has for years.
Whether she is convinced that he’s being framed or simply believes that she has no choice, divorce seems unlikely.
This would mean that Josh could still see his kids, as Anna would undoubtedly force them to visit their father.
He could insist that this is all an elaborate scheme by the devil or whatever to discredit him, and Anna might continue to believe him.
Josh can’t do that if he pleads guilty. Not now and not ever.
There is also a grim possibility that none of us can rule out: Josh could end up with a mistrial or an acquittal.
Why? Seemingly ironclad cases fall apart all of the time, especially when there is a lot of media attention.
Conviction is not a sure thing, and all that it would take is one juror to prevent a unanimous verdict.