Josh Duggar trial day 4: Duggar confessed to molesting children close family friend says, prosecution rests

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On December 6, the prosecution completed presenting their case against Josh Duggar in his child pornography trial.

The defense has now begun, calling an Arizona-based digital forensics expert as their first witness.Earlier this morning, the government wrapped up their case by calling three witnesses.

JOSH DUGGAR TRIAL: THE LATEST

    The first, Clint Branham, is currently a tech expert in cybersecurity at Walmart. He met Duggar “20 years ago at a campaign fundraiser.” He noted that he and the defendant had “run in the same circles for years.”

    Despite that duration in time, he specifically described Duggar as an acquaintance, not a friend. They frequently discussed technology.

    “He was generally what I would consider a power user of computer systems,” said Branham. He stated that Duggar would be “comfortable modifying hardware.”

    In the summer of 2010, they had a specific discussion about internet filtration at a coffee shop in Springdale, a conversation that also included Jim Holt.

    Sketch of Jim Holt on the stand in federal court for Josh Duggar’s child porn case. | Artist: John Kushmaul

    Holt was called as the next witness and testified that Duggar asked “how would I set that up?” when the topic turned to installing a Linux partition.

    Holt also explained his family’s relationship with the Duggars as “family friends [since] before [Josh] was born.” Duggar volunteered on Holt’s political campaigns when he was as young as 12.

    As a teenager, Duggar also put together computer graphics and helped assemble and edit a commercial for Holt on video. Just to clarify the point about the Linux conversation, the United States Prosecuting Attorney William Clayman asked Holt if he was sure Duggar had asked about that specifically.

    “Absolutely no doubt,” Jim Holt replied.

    Holt’s wife, Bobye, followed as the prosecution’s final witness. Her emotional testimony about Duggar’s molestation of young girls when he was a teenager himself captured the rapt attention of everyone in the courtroom.

    Sketch of Bobye Holt on the stand in federal court for Josh Duggar’s child porn case. | Artist: John Kushmaul

    Except for Josh Duggar.

    Red-faced and glistening with sweat, he stared down at the floor as she detailed his confession to her.

    Bobye’s thorough testimony included noting that her family has known the Duggars for “approximately 36-37 years,” and that Jim Bob and Jim met when they were 12 years old.

    United States Prosecuting Attorney Carly Marshall, examining the witness for the prosecution, inadvertently drew a laugh from the gallery when she asked “Do Jim Bob and Michelle have children?”

    The Duggars and their 19 children were previously featured on a reality show.

    Before describing the graphic details of Duggar’s confession, Judge Timothy L. Brooks explained clearly to the jury that they were still only considering the two charges against Duggar, telling them “you are about to hear evidence…that the defendant may have previously committed an offense of child molestation.”

    He went on to note that the jurors could consider that information when making their decision if they found the testimony “more likely true than not true.”

    “You should give it the weight and value you believe it is entitled to receive,” Judge Brooks said.

    Bobye explained exactly what Duggar confessed to her in explicit details, fighting through tears as she spoke. At the time, she had hoped Duggar would marry her oldest daughter. She was asked if she loved the defendant.

    “I still love Josh,” Bobye said.

    Her voice cracked and the tears continued when she confirmed this wasn’t something she wanted to talk about in court.

    During a brief cross-examination, Duggar’s lead defense attorney, Justin Gelfand had her confirm that she had no first-hand knowledge about anything that happened at Duggar’s car lot.

    In a short redirect, Bobye also testified that she had been offered money to discuss Duggar’s allegations but refused. She also declined to speak with the defense attorneys before the trial.

    When asked about her memory of the events, her reply was succinct.

    “You don’t forget something like that,” she said.

    Bobye was excused shortly after 10 a.m. and the government rested their case.

    The defense’s first witness was Michele Bush, a digital forensics expert. Her introduction noted that she works for Loehrs Forensics in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Sketch of Michele Bush, a digital forensics expert called to the stand by Josh Duggar’s defense for his child porn trial. | Artist: John Kushmaul

    She estimates that she has testified in court 23 times as an expert, and has personally conducted over 500 forensic examinations.

    Just like James Fottrell did, she explained that her examinations involve forensic images of seized devices, which are a “bit for bit copy” of the original item.

    “It’s an exact duplicate of an original device,” she explained.

    The defense submitted several exhibits of evidence during her testimony, including screenshots she took when analyzing the devices.

    She noted that the Linux partition took up a very small amount of space on the HP computer’s hard drive. The same computer that was taken from the car lot by the federal government. She also confirmed that it had been installed on May 13, 2019.

    She added the device had six partitions in total, with no child pornography found on the Windows side of the computer.

    She went on to discuss the opening of three files that the defense has referenced before. Bush said that those files, two Word documents and a Powerpoint presentation, were opened from an external device plugged into the computer.

    Those three files were never opened on any of Duggar’s personal devices.

    Bush also noted that the lone user name on the Linux account, “DELL_ONE” was “unusual.” In her attempt to create a Linux partition, she received a user error when trying to select that name due to a “controversial character.”

    She explained that the underscore can “confuse the system.” She also added that Dell is the name of a completely different computer manufacturer, one that has nothing to do with any of the seized devices.

    She also discussed the router that the defense has mentioned many times. Bush stated it stores information and maintains logs. This device was not seized, so she could not examine it.

    The final topic of the morning was the software application “Transmission,” which is used for BitTorrent downloads. The defense submitted a “demonstrative aid” into evidence, which was a thumb drive that contained a video walk-through of Bush using “Transmission” to download a video file.

    It’s the default application for BitTorrent downloads on Linux. It was not used on the HP computer, but it was accessed on Duggar’s Macbook Pro laptop to download a Hollywood family film.

    She began to explain the three main ways to install an application and noted that an installer had not been used for Linux.

    The subject of whether the uTorrent app could or could not be downloaded in the Linux app store seemed to be a point of contention, and the attorneys and judge had a sidebar to discuss it.

    A recess for lunch was then called, with the jury set to return at 1:40 p.m.

    Stay with KNWA/FOX24 as this is a developing story.


    PREVIOUS COVERAGE

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On the first morning of the second week of Josh Duggar’s child pornography trial in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a close family friend that has known the Duggars since before Josh was born took the stand for the prosecution.

    Fighting back tears, Bobye Holt testified about a 2003 conversation in which Duggar confessed to molesting multiple minor girls.

    Sometimes pausing to gather herself to speak, Holt described in detail how Duggar had told both sets of parents about touching girls, some as much as ten years younger than him, in their “private areas,” under their “pantaloons and underwear.”

    Before Holt took the stand, her husband, Jim Holt, was called. He detailed a conversation he was a part of in 2010 involving Duggar and another witness.

    During that conversation, Duggar asked about how to install a Linux partition on a computer.

    The prosecution rests, and the defense has begun calling their witnesses, beginning with an Arizona-based digital forensics expert.

    Court broke for a short recess. This story is developing and will be updated.

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