FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On May 25, Judge Timothy L. Brooks called a recess in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court shortly after 11:30 a.m.
Nearly the entire morning session of Joshua Duggar’s sentencing hearing was spent addressing a list of objections the defense made to a pre-sentencing report submitted to the court. The prosecution had one objection, which was addressed before today’s hearing.
The defense had 21 objections, and the morning proceed with the judge addressing many of them. Several objections about sentencing enhancements were overruled, others were sustained, and a handful of them were tabled until later in the day.
Some of the judge’s rulings on certain objections also rendered others moot, seeing some of the 22 items withdrawn. The judge also vacated one of Duggar’s convictions as a lesser charge, which he had previously noted he would do when Duggar was found guilty in December, 2021.
The judge sided with the defense on the matter of whether Duggar “did knowingly engage in distribution” of illegal child sexual assault materials. At issue was the peer-to-peer file sharing software Duggar used, which is how his activity was first discovered by an undercover Little Rock police officer.
Ultimately, the judge found the passive nature of the software, which cannot turn file sharing ability on or off, to be enough to sustain the defense’s objection.
Another matter that has been disputed by both sides in sentencing memorandums pertains to the total number of images Duggar downloaded. The defense has maintained that the number is “127 at most,” while the prosecution has stated that there were over 600.
Today, the judge clarified the importance of this difference, noting that the defense’s total would result in a two-level sentencing enhancement, while the prosecution’s higher number would increase that to a five level enhancement.
A good deal of time was spent trying to calculate an exact total, with the judge ultimately deciding that it was impossible, partially due to the presence of some files being located in unallocated space on Duggar’s computer. Judge Brooks added that each video counted as 75 images in this total.
“The Court gets to 525 images very easily,” he stated, before settling on an unconfirmed total of 590. He acknowledged that there may be more than 600, but for sentencing purposes he limited the enhancement to four levels.
Two defense objections pertained to what the court called Duggar’s “Ashley Madison scandal,” and the judge ruled that his confessions about infidelity before the trial and his own words about having a pornography addiction were “relevant in several respects.”
Judge Brooks will rule on the remaining objections and subsequently begin addressing the final sentencing guidelines this afternoon, beginning at 12:10 p.m.