Prosecution wraps up its case against Duggar

Defense calls computer analyst to stand

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Washington County (Ark.) Jail shows Joshua Duggar. (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP, File)
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Washington County (Ark.) Jail shows Joshua Duggar. (Washington County Arkansas Jail via AP, File)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Prosecutors rested Monday morning in the child pornography trial of Josh Duggar, and the defense began presenting its case.

Duggar, 33, of Springdale, is charged in federal court with two counts involving receiving and possessing child pornography. He faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000 on each count if convicted.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks denied a motion to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, saying prosecutors have provided enough evidence to create a question for the jury.

The government called two witnesses who testified Duggar had asked them about installing a computer partition and a Linux operating system.

The government contends Duggar did the installation on a computer at his car lot in order to avoid an accountability application that would notify his wife if he tried to access inappropriate content.

Clint Branham, a friend of Duggar and who now works in cybersecurity in the private sector, said Duggar talked about installing a second, Linux operating system to get around the application on individual devices back around 2010.

Branham said Duggar was more technologically advanced than the average computer user. Duggar was comfortable with computer hardware and software and understood how it works, Branham said.

Jim Holt, the former state senator, said the discussion he was part of happened in Springdale during one of his political campaigns about 10 years ago. Holt said the discussion was about setting up a separate partition on a computer and Duggar asked how that was done.

The prosecution also called Bobye Holt, who testified Duggar admitted to her that he had inappropriately touched four young girls when he was a still a teenager.

Bobye Holt, who is Jim Holt's wife, said they were called to the Duggar home in March 2003 where Josh Duggar, then 15, confessed to inappropriately touching the girls. Two years later, in Little Rock, Duggar told Bobye Holt more details, she said.

The girls were three to 10 years younger than Duggar at the time, making at least one of them four or five years of age, according to prosecutors.

The government contends those actions show Duggar has a propensity to engage in child molestation.

The defense began calling witnesses around 10 a.m. and Michele Bush, a forensic computer analyst from Arizona spent the rest of the day on the stand countering the prosecution's expert from last week.

Bush told jurors that no one had to be physically present at Duggar's car lot computer to install a Linux operating system and it could have been selected and turned on remotely.

Bush said the evidence indicates there might well have been someone remotely accessing Duggar's computer because of the short length of time the partition and operating system were used during each session over three days; the way someone was looking for very specific files; and, because the user was not double-clicking to download things.

The operating system was not set up from a website and the applications supposedly used were not commercially available from an app store at the time, Bush said. The computer was not secure, she said.

"Evidence leads me to believe it was with command lines," Bush said. "I think there's evidence to suggest it was remote."

Bush said the password used on the Linux side appeared to have been automatically generated and was actually an invalid user name that would not work when she tried to use it.

Bush said there was no child porn on the computer hard drive from Duggar's car lot when she examined a copy but it appeared some had been downloaded, viewed and quickly deleted while others were never viewed. All were streamed, she said.

Bush said there would be evidence if files were actually opened but she found no remnants of the actual files on the computer. The government contends files were actually downloaded to the computer's hard drive at some point.

Bush said she could not say how many different devices had connected to Duggar's Wi-Fi network because investigators did not take the router.

Duggar, best known for being part of his family's cable television reality show, is accused of using the internet in May 2019 to download and possess the material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children younger than 12, according to court documents.

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