In less than two weeks, Josh Duggar will stand trial on child pornography charges.
The wheels of justice have turned slowly for the victims and their families, as Josh’s place of business was raided by federal agents way back in November of 2019, but he was not arrested until April of this year.
From there, Josh’s lawyers forced additional delays, asking the judge to postpone the start of his trial in order to allow them more time to prepare.
The defense spent much of this time challenging evidence and arguments that prosecutors plan to present in court, and it seems their efforts have finally paid off.
According to a new report from Radar Online, the judge in Josh’s case ruled on several pre-trial motions this week, and one of the decisions constitutes a major win for the defense.
Prosecutors had previously requested permission to address the issue of Josh’s porn addiction in court.
Now, the judge has ruled that the DA’s office will not be permitted to present such information to the jury, as it is not needed to “complete the story” or “provide a total picture of these crimes.”
The prosecution had argued that the knowledge of Josh’s past obsession with internet porn was essential to establishing an incriminating pattern of behavior.
It would have been easy for them to prove that such an addiction existed, as Josh publicly admitted to it after he was caught using the affair-facilitating website Ashley Madison back in 2015.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” he wrote in a statement issued at the time.
“While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this has become an addiction.”
Josh now claims that the statement was inaccurate, and he only wrote it in order “to minimize the public relations fallout from the embarrassing revelation that [he] was allegedly a member of the website.”
The judge’s decision to disallow any discussion of Josh’s addiction is a rare win for the defense, which had previously suffered a string of pre-trial setbacks.
Josh’s lawyers filed five motions to have evidence dismissed, all of which were denied at a hearing held earlier this month.
(Josh left the courthouse with a smile on his face, presumably to create the impression that the hearing had gone his way.)
And aside from the judge’s ruling regarding Josh’s porn addiction, the defense’s subsequent efforts have been similarly unsuccessful.
The prosecution recently requested permission to use Josh’s past sex crimes against him during the trial, and it appears that that despite objections from the defense, they will be permitted to do so.
Josh molested five of his sisters in 2006, a fact that did not come to light until in 2015, largely due to his parents’ efforts to keep the scandal buried.
In this case too, Josh admitted to his appalling misconduct in a press release.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” he wrote.
“I hurt others, including my family and close friends.”
Despite this admission, Josh’s lawyers argued that there’s no evidence of the molestation.
But the judge apparently feels that the first Duggar sex scandal is relevant to this most recent one, and that Josh’s past crimes might serve to shed light on the current allegations against him.
With jury selection set to begin in less than two weeks, the defense might not see any further opportunities to hamper the prosecution’s case before trial.
So while the decision to bar any discussion of Josh’s porn addiction constitutes an undeniable victory for the defense, the odds of an acquittal are still very slim.