Far from over. Over one month after Josh Duggar began serving time after being convicted of possessing and receiving child pornography, the disgraced reality star will continue to face legal issues as he attempts to appeal his prison sentence.
“He’s gonna appeal the case both in terms of the finding of guilt and the sentence [itself],” Neama Rahmani, former Federal Prosecutor and President of West Coast Trial Lawyers, tells Us Weekly exclusively about the 19 Kids and Counting alum’s recent trial. In December 2021, Duggar, 35, was found guilty of two counts of possessing and receiving child pornography. In late May 2022, he was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. Duggar will also be assigned 20 years of supervised release once his jail time is complete.
Two weeks after his sentence, the former car salesman filed an appeal with an Arkansas court, arguing about one of the counts he was convicted on. “Count Two [of possessing child pornography] was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas on May 25, 2022,” the filing, which was obtained by Us in June 2022, reads. “This Notice is being filed by Duggar’s trial counsel, Justin K. Gelfand, Ian. T. Murphy, and Travis W. Story … on Duggar’s behalf and pursuant to Duggar’s request,” Duggar’s attorneys stated.
Despite the filing, however, Rahmani tells Us that Duggar “doesn’t really have a good defense” to file an appeal on the basis of a wrongful conviction due to all of the evidence that was presented against him at the trial. “I mean, these images were on his HP laptop computer, there’s a digital paper trail that shows that he’s on the internet downloading these images.”
He continued: “I don’t think he has a very good argument on appeal. These possession cases are tough. When they’re on your computer and there is that digital footprint, both in terms of the actual guilt and in terms of the sentence, he’s very likely gonna lose.”
Duggar will also likely struggle to appeal for a lesser sentence, Rahmani explained, noting that the TLC personality did not receive an “unduly harsh” punishment for his crimes. “[12 years] tends to be a normal sentence for someone who’s convicted of possessing child pornography,” he said, adding that a child pornography conviction carries a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. “The government did ask for the max [in this case], but 12 and a half years is consistent with how judges across the country are sentencing these cases.”
Rahmani also shut down the idea that prosecutors were particularly harsh on Duggar due to his celebrity status. “He’s treated like anyone else. You know, it doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity,” he stated, adding that he is one of many famous faces who “have been convicted in federal court. So, they’re treated just like any other inmate.”
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