Josh Duggar’s defense attorneys argued that this testimony should be excluded from the trial on the grounds that it was protected by clergy privilege since Jim Bob Duggar and the parents of one of the girls in question are all church leaders.
Prosecutors disagreed, saying, “The defendant is asking the court to adopt an interpretation of the clergy-penitent privilege that is so unprecedently overbroad as to render it unenforceable.” In a court filing dated Wednesday, Dec. 1, Judge Timothy L. Brooks ruled to allow the testimony.
Josh Duggar’s Trial Begins
Josh Duggar and his family are known for starring in the TLC reality show, “19 Kids & Counting.” The program was pulled from air in 2015 after allegations surfaced that Duggar had molested five girls, including four of his sisters.
In November 2019, Homeland Security Investigations raided Josh Duggar’s business and confiscated three password-protected devices. On those devices were dozens of images depicting nude minors and child sex abuse materials.
Duggar was arrested on April 29, 2021, and has been charged with one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison for each, as well as $250,000 in fines.
On May 5, 2021, Duggar was released on bail pending trial, which began Tuesday despite his attorneys requesting it be delayed to February 2022.
Jury selection for the trial took place Tuesday, Nov. 30, during a nine-hour hearing that concluded with the seating of 12 jurors and four alternates. During the hearing, Brooks presented a list of 28 potential or confirmed witnesses, including two of Josh’s siblings, Jill Dillard and Jedidiah Duggar. It is not clear at this point whether the siblings are witnesses for the defense or prosecution. On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave opening statements and the first witness, Detective Amber Kalmer of the Little Rock Police Department, testified.