The judge in Josh Duggar‘s federal court trial on two child pornography charges is coming down HARD on the reality TV star’s famous dad, Jim Bob Duggar.
As we reported earlier this week, prosecutors and Duggar’s defense attorney Justin Gelfand made opening arguments in a preliminary hearing prior to the trial beginning on Monday. That hearing centered on whether Josh’s alleged previous claims of molesting four girls starting back when he was a 12-year-old boy — nearly 20 years ago — would be admissible as evidence as part of this current trial, in which Josh is being accused of possessing and sharing digital images of child pornography.
As part of the hearing, a family friend of the Duggars testified that Josh allegedly admitted multiple times in the early 2000s to molesting and inappropriately touching several young girls. Jim Bob took the stand during that preliminary hearing, as well — but claimed he was unable to recall vital details from that time period, while also objecting to the prosecution’s revelation of a police report alleging Josh’s supposed early crimes.
Now, presiding federal court judge Timothy L. Brooks has ruled on whether the previous molestation allegations can be used in court during this trial, and his decree is strong, clear, and definitive.
According to court docs obtained by People, Brooks ruled that the prior allegations of inappropriate touching are “clear and compelling,” explaining:
“The Court finds, based on the Government’s proffer of evidence at the hearing, that the prior acts of child molestation allegedly committed by Defendant in 2002 and 2003 against four child victims are clear and compelling. The child pornography victims, in this case, are approximately the same ages as the victims of Defendant’s hands-on child-molestation offenses. Accordingly, the prior act evidence is probative of Defendant’s sexual interest in underage children and his propensity for exploiting young girls.”
Obviously, in the context of this current trial, that’s really bad for Josh, as the prosecution can now link past actions he’s already admitted with what he’s being accused of here, possibly proving to the jury that there is a predilection for this disturbing behavior.
But Judge Brooks’ words didn’t stop there.
The judge went on to specifically call out Jim Bob in the admissibility ruling, slamming his supposed inability to recall key details from that prior time period.
“The Court found Mr. Duggar [Jim Bob]’s selective lapse in memory to be not credible; he was obviously reluctant to testify against his son.”
Damn! He’s basically saying Jim Bob is lying about not being able to remember. Sounds like the reality TV patriarch is lucky he didn’t get held in contempt!
It’s hardly surprising he was breaking the rules to protect his son. It’s not too far afield from what he did all those years ago, leaving it to a church friend to counsel Josh after the initial molestation confession — instead of getting him real help or pushing him to face real consequences.
In contrast, Brooks added that longtime family friend Bobye Holt was “very credible” and not subject to clergy privilege, as Josh’s defense team had argued:
“It is clear from her [Holt’s] testimony — which the Court found very credible — that she was not a clergy person at the time [Josh] made certain disclosures to her about molesting children.”
This ruling isn’t good for Josh’s defense. And it certainly isn’t a good look for Jim Bob to be called out on the record in court like that by a federal judge.
Here’s the latest on the judge’s admissibility ruling and more from local Arkansas news outlet 5 News on Thursday morning:
Josh’s trial will continue for at least the next few days.
He’s facing up to 20 years in federal prison if found guilty on both charges of sharing and possessing child pornography.
[Image via 5 News/TLC/YouTube]