Josh Duggar child pornography trial: Week ends with questioning of DOJ senior crime forensic analyst
Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines for December 3
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Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial got underway this week in northwest Arkansas, and much of the trial’s discussion has centered on the myriad ways the “19 Kids and Counting” star allegedly attempted to cover his tracks.
The 33-year-old father of seven is charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.
Here is a timeline of the trial this week:
Wednesday, Dec. 1
Before Duggar’s trial began on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks rejected a motion by Duggar’s attorneys to prevent jurors from hearing evidence that he admitted to molesting four girls nearly 20 years ago.
In court, Duggar’s defense attorneys have argued that Duggar was not the one who downloaded the alleged inappropriate material onto his HP all-in-one desktop computer at the family’s used car dealership.
The defense contends that since no child pornography was found on Duggar’s personal iPhone or MacBook Pro laptop, he clearly couldn’t have been responsible for the material found on his work device and that someone else placed the images on the computer.
However, federal prosecutors presented a trove of evidence to the contrary, including exhibits and time stamps that supposedly show a breadcrumb trail of Duggar’s alleged activity.
Thursday, Dec. 2
Duggar was joined by his wife as he made his way into court Thursday.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Agent Gerald Faulkner took the stand Thursday morning.
A KNWA reporter in the courtroom said on Twitter that Faulkner was questioned about why some cellphones were taken as evidence and others were not. The defense questioned Faulkner about a different employee who Faulkner said was not looked into because he was allegedly in another state at the time of the alleged crimes, The Sun reported. Faulkner added that he did not explore the possibility of remote access, per the outlet.
When the prosecution questioned Faulkner, the agent reportedly said if there was evidence of hacking or of the other employee being at the location, it would have been investigated. He claimed agents did not have a legal cause to search the employee’s phone.
Video and photo elements of alleged child sexual abuse material was also presented to the jury detailing Duggar’s alleged online presence.
James Fottrell, the director of the Department of Justice for Child Exploitation, took the stand on Thursday and spoke to the extent the Tor dark web browser Duggar allegedly used to cover his tracks could be used to surf the web anonymously, according to The Sun.
During testimony, Fottrell explained that in order for Linux to be installed on any computer, someone must physically initiate the action and must physically be present at device boot up.
The court was then shown a cache folder for Tor that included recently used downloads, and a Linux partition revealed Duggar’s name and address.
The court was then shown thumbnail files of folders where alleged images of minors deemed sexually suggestive had been kept.
The 33-year-old father of seven is charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography.
(Washington County Police Department)
Photos of the graphic images were shown to the jury and described by James Fottrell.
He said the photos were popular traded images of child sexual abuse material.
Additional testimony was heard from Marshall Kennedy, a computer forensic analyst (CFA) with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), who was the sixth prosecutorial witness called to the stand.
Kennedy, who also serves on the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, explained the process that CFAs use to make “forensic images” of seized devices, which allows them to view the contents of electronics in a read-only mode that prevents the possibility of data corruption or deletion, according to FOX24.
Justin Duggar is seen here giving two thumbs up while leaving the courthouse where his brother Josh is on trial.
(The Sun/News Licensing)
He acknowledged that investigators did not locate any incriminating evidence on Duggar’s personal iPhone or MacBook Pro laptop.
However, investigators previously maintained that Duggar used his work computer at the family’s used car dealership to allegedly download the explicit material.
On Thursday, Josh’s younger brother Justin Duggar raised eyebrows when he was photographed giving two thumbs up to cameras while leaving the courthouse. Amy King seemingly commented on Justin’s photo making its way around the internet when she wrote on Twitter, “Also you don’t smile with your thumbs up leaving in a situation like this. Where is the respect?”
In another tweet, King wrote, “It’s ok to show emotions especially when it’s a heartbreaking situation. Who cares if cameras are there. Just be real for once.”
Friday, Dec. 3
Fottrell continued his testimony on Friday and provided details obtained from a backup of Duggar’s iPhone, made on a MacBook Pro laptop, that placed the phone at the car lot on the exact dates and times that the illegal material was downloaded, accessed and shared on the dealership’s desktop computer, KNWA-TV in Fayetteville reported.
James Follett, a Homeland Security senior crime forensic analyst, testified Friday that a car receipt naming “Josh” as the sales agent was found behind the partition where the child pornography was downloaded, the Democrat-Gazette reported. And the password to access the hidden section was a variation on passwords Duggar had used on other devices for at least five years.
The ’19 Kids and Counting’ star faces 20 years in prison on each count if convicted as charged.
(Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Prosecutors say the child pornography was downloaded to the computer in May 2019. Duggar was officially charged in April.
The judge said on Friday that Duggar’s trial will likely continue into at least midweek next week, according to a court reporter working for the Sun.
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto, Jessica Napoli, Mariah Haas as well as The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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