Josh Duggar's Previous Confession to Molesting 4 Girls Can Be Used in Trial, Judge Says

A federal judge announced Wednesday he would allow the confession Josh Duggar made when he admitted to molesting four girls to be used as evidence in his trial for child pornography charges, the Associated Press reported.

The former reality-TV star told a family friend back in 2003 that he molested four girls. The family friend testified in the pre-trial hearing Monday what Duggar had told her.

Duggar's defense attorneys argued the confession made nearly 20 years ago shouldn't be allowed in the trial because Duggar was never charged with the molestations and the allegations are not relevant to the child pornography case.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks rejected the defense's motion and disagreed with them saying the testimony was in fact relevant to the child pornography case. He allowed the testimony to be used as evidence in the trial.

"The child pornography victims in this case are approximately the same ages as the victims of defendant's hands-on child-molestation offenses," Brooks' order said. "Accordingly, the prior act evidence is probative of defendant's sexual interest in underage children and his propensity for exploiting young girls."

Duggar was charged with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography back in April. If he's found guilty, each count could carry up to a 20-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Joshua Duggar, Arkansas, Jail, Trial
A judge ruled that a previous confession made by Josh Duggar can be used in his child pornography trial. This undated photo provided by the Washington County, Arkansas, Jail shows Duggar. Washington County Arkansas Jail, File/AP Photo

During opening statements, Duggar's attorney argued that someone else downloaded or placed the images depicting the sexual abuse of children on his computer.

"If you like a mystery, then this is the case for you," Justin Gilfand, representing Duggar, told jurors in his opening statement, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. "This is a classic, old-fashioned whodunit."

But federal prosecutors detailed logs showing minute-by-minute, the activity on Duggar's computer that alternated between sending personal messages, downloading child porn and saving pictures of notes, the newspaper reported.

A federal Homeland Security agent in May testified that pornographic images depicting the sexual abuse of children, including toddlers, had been downloaded in May 2019 by a computer at a car dealership that Duggar owned.

Duggar has pleaded not guilty in the case and his attorneys have said they plan to defend his case "aggressively and thoroughly."

TLC pulled 19 Kids and Counting in 2015 over revelations that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter. Duggar's parents said he confessed to the fondling and apologized.

Duggar's trial begins as his father, Jim Bob Duggar, is running in a special election for a vacant state Senate seat in northwest Arkansas. Jim Bob Duggar was also featured prominently on the TLC show and previously served in the Arkansas House. The primary election for the open seat is December 14.

Josh Duggar, 2015, Convention
Josh Duggar was charged with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography in April. Duggar speaks during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Kris Connor/Getty Images