’19 Kids and Counting’ star Josh Duggar arrested, indicted on child pornography charges – USA TODAY

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Former “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar has been indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. 

A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas indicted Duggar, alleging that in 2019 he “knowingly” received images of children under the age of 12. The former TLC star has been charged on two counts pertaining to child pornography.

On Friday, Duggar’s attorneys – Justin Gelfand, Travis Story and Greg Payne – said in a joint statement that their client has pled not guilty to both charges and plans to “fight back in the courtroom.”

Charlie Robbins, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas, told USA TODAY that the government has requested Duggar remain in jail. The former reality star’s attorneys have requested a detention hearing to allow Duggar out on bond, which will be held virtually May 5, Robbins added.

Robbins also shared that Duggar’s first court date is set for July 6 and is currently planned to be virtual, in accordance with the district’s current COVID-19 policy.

Former "19 Kids and Counting" star Josh Duggar has been indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Duggar could face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 on each count.

“Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children,” the press release said. 

The case is being prosecuted in part by national initiative Project Safe Childhood, a program started in 2006 by the Department of Justice to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Duggar was arrested by the United States Marshals Service according to online government records, and booked into jail Thursday afternoon in Washington County, Arkansas.

USA TODAY has reached out to the office of Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford and Homeland Security Investigations for comment.

Duggar’s parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar released a joint statement on their family website Friday afternoon following the news of their eldest son’s indictment. 

“The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner,” they wrote. “We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”  

“We just heard about it yesterday. It is sad,” Duggar’s sister Jill said about his arrest in a statement to USA TODAY on Friday.

Duggar’s arrest comes less than a week after his wife Anna announced on Instagram that she is pregnant with their seventh child, a baby girl.

In a video posted to Instagram Saturday, the couple stand in a field with their six children running in the background. Duggar opens an umbrella over himself and his wife, dropping pink confetti over them.

“It’s a GIRL!!!!!,” Anna wrote in the caption. “We are overjoyed to announce baby seven is on the way and we can’t wait to hold her in our arms this fall!”

The couple have been married 13 years and share kids Mackynzie, 11; Michael, 9; Marcus, 7; Meredith, 5; Mason, 3; and 17-month-old Maryella.

The Duggar family rose to fame with their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” which chronicled the personal life of Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Josh is their eldest son.

Josh Duggar of ’19 Kids and Counting’ loses again in lawsuit against his town over molestation case

TLC canceled “19 Kids and Counting” in 2015 following a sexual abuse scandal involving Josh, who later also admitted to a porn addiction and cheating on his wife.The series’ spin-off “Counting On” features storylines focusing on his sisters and their young families.

Duggar was never charged after an anonymous tip spurred an investigation into his alleged fondling of five girls in 2002 and 2003. He acknowledged wrongdoing in a statement after news reports were published in 2015. His parents and two of his sisters later confirmed the actions

Josh Duggar and wife Anna are expecting their sixth child this fall

Contributing: Andrea Mandell; Associated Press

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