Former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar pleaded not guilty to two counts of receiving child pornography, multiple outlets are reporting.
Justin Gelfand, the 33-year-old’s attorney, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf on Friday, US Weekly reported. Duggar is at the Washington County jail in Arkansas on Thursday without bail. However, he may request bail from a federal judge on May 5. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each count.
Federal authorities arrested Duggar on Thursday, but they did not immediately release the charges. TMZ reported Friday that officials charged him with possessing child pornography, including images of minors below the age of 12. Homeland Security officials raided his office in 2019 as part of an investigation, TMZ said.
The Duggar family released a statement on the charges, and asked fans for prayers.
“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time,” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in a statement to Us Weekly via their family rep on Friday, April 30. “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.”
Josh Duggar’s attorneys say he will fight the charges.
“Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment. He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly,” they told TMZ. “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.”
Josh Duggar Has Admitted to Molestating Girls
In 2015, several women said Josh Duggar molested them when he was a teenager. Though the women didn’t come forward until more than a decade later. Four of the alleged victims were his younger sisters and the fifth was reportedly a babysitter.
One of the sisters who accused Josh Duggar of molestation told Yahoo that We just learned this information. It is very sad.”
TLC canceled the show 19 Kids and Counting over the accusations in 2015, and Josh Duggar resigned from the Family Research Council. He released a statement admitting to the scandal.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” he said in the statement. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
Josh Duggar, the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle, is a political activist married to Anna Duggar. They announced recently that they are expecting their seventh child.