Prosecution responds to Josh Duggar’s request for new trial

Mid-South

A federal jury convicted Josh Duggar for receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – On February 11, the prosecution in Joshua Duggar’s child pornography trial officially filed their response to his defense team’s request for an acquittal or a new trial.

In a 30-page response filed in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fayetteville, the government made a motion for all of the defense’s requests to be denied.

Duggar’s defense team had filed its request for a judgment of acquittal or a new trial, doing so on Jan. 19, the deadline for post-trial motions after his December 2021 conviction on two child pornography charges.

That defense motion began by requesting an outright acquittal based on “a Rule 29 motion,” which is a reference to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c), which states that the Court can set aside a verdict of guilt if “a reasonably minded jury must have a reasonable doubt as to the existence of any of the essential elements of the crime charged.”

After an introduction, the government filing stated that “[Duggar’s] barebones argument ignores the ample proof beyond any reasonable doubt that he repeatedly downloaded and viewed this material.”

The prosecution went on to directly address the Rule 29 claim, referencing evidence and trial testimony from forensic experts on both sides.

In the secondary portion of the defense filing, Duggar’s team requested a new trial if an acquittal was not granted, on the basis of “a miscarriage of justice” if the evidence weighed heavily enough against the verdict.

The government filing addressed this notion with a bullet-pointed, all caps heading: “THE DEFENDANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO A NEW TRIAL.” Their support of this position went on for over 20 pages, addressing a multitude of specific points.

One such matter at the heart of the defense’s filing was the subject of potential witness Caleb Williams, a former employee of Duggar’s at Wholesale Motorcars that was not called as a witness at trial.

This too was addressed in the prosecution’s filing.

“The notion that Caleb Williams committed these offenses is pure fiction — a story advanced by the defense for the sole purpose of casting blame, regardless of evidence to the contrary, on a sex offender,” wrote Dustin S. Roberts, Asst. US Attorney, in the Feb. 11 court filing. “Yet the defendant now claims he is entitled to a new trial because the Court precluded him from calling Mr. Williams as an alternative-perpetrator witness. A review of the record reveals the opposite: the Court allowed the defendant to call Mr. Williams to develop this theory but simply limited his ability to introduce evidence of Mr. Williams’s prior sex offense pursuant to the Federal Rules of Evidence until he established a nonspeculative nexus between Mr. Williams and the crimes.”

The prosecution cited case law that addressed this type of situation occurring in multiple prior cases.

Another portion of the defense filing requested a new trial based on Rule 16 and the Jencks act. The prosecution responded in its filing, saying they did not violate either, citing specific lines of the case law.

The document concluded by stating that “the Government respectfully requests that the Court deny the defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal or for a new trial.”

The filing was submitted by the entire prosecution team from the trial: attorneys Dustin Roberts, Carly Marshall, and William Clayman.

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