- The former reality TV star Josh Duggar is set to be sentenced this month on a child pornography conviction.
- Duggar’s attorneys filed a sentencing memo requesting a lenient five-year sentence.
- Federal prosecutors submitted a sentencing memo of their own, requesting a 20-year prison sentence.
The former reality TV star Josh Duggar, who was convicted late last year of receiving and possessing child pornography, asked a federal judge for mercy in a sentencing memorandum on Wednesday.
Duggar, 34, has maintained his innocence and his attorneys have said he intends to appeal the verdict. He is set to be sentenced on May 25, and prosecutors have demanded that he receive 20 years in prison, citing Duggar’s “deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children.”
In a 53-page memorandum, Duggar’s attorneys requested a much lighter five-year prison term followed by supervised release. In their court filing, the attorneys pleaded with the judge for leniency, and at times even cast Duggar as the victim.
“Even before this Court pronounces its sentence, Duggar’s life has already been shattered,” his attorneys wrote. “His reputation, career, and family have all suffered.”
Duggar stood trial last December on allegations of downloading numerous files of known child-sexual-abuse material. Prosecutors alleged that Duggar downloaded and viewed the material in May of 2019, using the
at his used car dealership in Arkansas.
Throughout the trial, federal agents and computer forensics experts testified in detail about the material found on Duggar’s computer, the software he used, and even the lengths he went to to conceal his internet activity. Federal prosecutors used those details from the trial testimony in their own sentencing memo on Wednesday, arguing that Duggar’s secretive conduct, lack of remorse, and the depravity of the files he accessed, warranted a harsh sentence.
Duggar’s attorneys had argued at trial that their client was not the only one with access to the desktop computer, and suggested that one of Duggar’s employees downloaded the material. But in their sentencing memo, Duggar’s attorneys urged the judge to “place what allegedly occurred here into context,” and suggested that the crime was far less severe than other child pornography cases.
“Someone accessed this material, viewed some of it, deleted all of it within a few days, and then never sought anything like it ever again,” Duggar’s attorneys wrote. “It is only fair that this Court place the allegations into the context of cases of this nature and, in that way, this is less severe than the lion’s share of child pornography cases that end up in federal court.”
In their memorandum, Duggar’s attorneys included a number of letters from friends and relatives asking the judge to grant Duggar leniency. They included letters from Duggar’s mother, his wife, family friends, and members of the Duggar family’s church community, all of whom described Duggar as a compassionate and generous man committed to his family.
Duggar’s attorneys noted that their client “maintains his innocence and intends to exercise his right to appeal,” but also “accepts that the crime for which he is being sentenced is serious.”
“But in crafting that punishment, Duggar asks that this Court consider this crime within its proper context and consider the person Duggar really is,” his attorneys wrote.