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Josh Duggar of TLC's '19 Kids and Counting' indicted on child pornography charges

Duggar pleaded not guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography.
Image: Josh Duggar, Executive Director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa on Aug. 9, 2014.
Josh Duggar, executive director of the Family Research Council Action, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa on Aug. 9, 2014.Brian Frank / Reuters file

Josh Duggar, whose family became the subject of a TLC reality show in 2008, was charged with receiving and possessing child pornography in Arkansas on Friday.

In a court appearance over Zoom, he pleaded not guilty to both charges.

"Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment," his attorneys, Justin Gelfand, Travis W. Story and Greg Payne, said Friday in a statement. "He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly. In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom—and that is exactly what Josh intends to do.”

Duggar "allegedly used the internet to download child sexual abuse material," the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas said in a statement.

Some of the material "depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019," according to the statement.

If convicted Duggar could face a fine of $250,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years for each count.

He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals and detained on a federal hold at the Washington County Detention Center on Thursday, NBC affiliate KNWA previously reported.

Duggar, 33, was featured in a reality show on the TLC network with his family called “19 Kids and Counting” that ran from 2008 and 2015. The show chronicled the lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children, of which Duggar was the eldest, and often centered around the family’s religious beliefs as devout Baptists.

In 2015, following an In Touch magazine report that he was investigated for molesting his four younger sisters and a babysitter, Duggar released a statement saying he "acted inexcusably" when he was a teenager and was "extremely sorry." An Arkansas police report indicated Duggar was investigated in 2006 when he was 18. He was never arrested or charged with any crime.

The Duggar family appeared to admit to the allegations in an interview with Fox News in 2015, with father Jim Bob Duggar telling Megyn Kelly his son touched the girls over and under their clothing as they slept, and that he was “just curious about girls.”

A few months later, following the apparent hack of extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison, Duggar was revealed to have frequented the site. He released a statement following reports by The Hollywood Reporter and Gawker saying he was “so ashamed of the double life that I have been living” and apologized to his wife.

Josh Duggar checked himself into a rehabilitation center not long after, according to his mother’s blog.

“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time," Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Josh's parents, said in a statement released Friday.

"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. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family.”

Jinger Vuolo, one of Josh's sisters, said in an Instagram post: "We are disturbed to hear of the charges against Josh. While this case must go through the legal system, we want to make it clear that we absolutely condemn any form of child abuse and fully support the authorities and judicial process in their pursuit of justice."