Josh Duggar, the oldest child of the family featured in the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting” and a one-time conservative celebrity, was found guilty of possessing child pornography by an Arkansas jury on Thursday.
A federal grand jury in Arkansas indicted Duggar in April on two counts: receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography. The jury found him guilty on both.
Duggar pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment after being arrested by U.S. Marshals in Arkansas.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors during the trial presented evidence relating to a computer at Duggar’s used-car dealership in Arkansas. They alleged that Duggar used his work computer to send personal messages, download child porn and save pictures of notes.
Experts testified that Duggar’s computer was split into two operating systems, with one designated for business and a “hidden” section for illegal material. A Justice Department computer expert, James Fottrell, testified that sexually explicit photos and videos of children were found on Duggar’s computer, according to the AP.
Defense attorneys for Duggar reportedly argued that someone else downloaded or placed the child pornography onto the work computer, saying that no child pornography was found on Duggar’s phone or home laptop and that Duggar didn’t know how to split his computer’s operating system in two.
TPM previously reported on Duggar and his family’s ties to some key Republican politicians, tea party figures and evangelical elite, including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. Some of those Republicans defended the Duggars after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Josh, prompting the show’s cancelation.
Prior to the show’s airing, the Duggar’s gained national attention when head patriarch Jim Bob Duggar launched an unsuccessful bid in 2002 in the Republican primary for an Arkansas Senate seat.