As Josh Duggar awaits sentencing for charges of possessing and receiving child sex abuse materials, audio from his 2019 interrogation has been released, showing how the disgraced former 19 Kids and Counting star failed to stay calm under pressure when federal agents questioned him about the child sex abuse materials (CSAM) being downloaded at his car lot.
As The Ashley told you last month, Josh was found guilty in December by a federal jury and is set to be sentenced for his crimes in April. While Josh’s legal team has filed a motion requesting a new trial, The Daily Mail has obtained the audio via the Freedom of Information Act from Josh’s 2019 interrogation, during which Josh was questioned by federal agents Gerald Faulkner and Howard Aycock for nearly an hour at his now-shuttered used car dealership.
(The Ashley– who was at Josh’s trial in December— can confirm that much of this audio was played in court during the trial and used as evidence.)
In the recording, the officers attempt to explain “peer-to-peer” filing sharing with Josh, using music streaming service Napster as an example. Josh says he is familiar with Napster, but admits the streaming services–- founded in 1999–- is a little “before my time,” before going on to have a seemingly friendly conversation with the agents and even joking around at times.
Agent Faulkner goes on to ask if Josh has any knowledge of it, to which Josh says, “I mean, I’m familiar with, I guess you could say.” When probed further, Josh admits “probably all of” the devices the premises have the peer-to-peer sharing software in question downloaded onto them.
As Josh attempts to nail down which of the devices in particular contain the software, he stumbles over his words, leading the agent to assure him they are “not trying to pin you in a corner on any of your answers.”
Josh then mentions the possibility of a “TOR browser” being used.
“ … we upload stuff for our cars and things like that,” he explains. “I had a friend of mine that came and set us up with file sharing so we could do, you know, more encrypted type stuff. He just said it’s safer that way. He got me onto it to be safer.”
As the agent attempts to clarify Josh’s understanding of “TOR,” Josh claims he actually doesn’t “know the definition.” The agent informs Josh “TOR” is typically used when dealing with the “dark web,” while “Torrent” is something different.
“I don’t know,” Josh says. “He said TOR, so I don’t really know which one.”
Josh goes on to chuckle while telling the agent he doesn’t actually know which of the two is being used on the devices, so it’s better if he doesn’t speak on it. At this point, the agent again tells Josh they are not trying to put words in his mouth and the two continue going back and forth on the clarification of “TOR” vs “Torrent.” During the exchange, Josh does cop to having knowledge of “TOR” being used on at least one of the devices–- again, at the recommendation of his “friend.”
At another point in the conversation, the agent tells Josh he doesn’t want him to think they are there “because someone is downloading music.”
“So what are you here for then?” Josh asks.
Agent Faulkner tells Josh he and his colleagues typically deal with crimes involving narcotics, illegal immigration and child exploitation.
“So we’re, we kind of work with saving kids essentially,” he adds. “A lot of times we’ll find, through Internet tips, that people have, you know, downloaded child pornography, stuff like that.”
At this point, Josh begins to stumble over his words.
“Is that what you’re saying? Is that what you’re saying is going on?” Josh asks. “Is there some, is there something going on, on my devices, where that’s been something accessed or something downloaded or uploaded or something like that?
“Does it, does it include … so did it mark this IP address?” Josh continues. “Is that basically what you’re saying? Yes. So does it, so I guess in the scope of your investigation, is there going to be, I guess, I mean, you’ll narrow it down?”
Agent Faulkner then tells Josh “all these other guys running around” are doing just that, as “they are computer forensic analysts.”
“So even if something’s on a computer that someone might have downloaded and then deleted, they’re going to be able to find it,” he adds.
Agent Faulkner explains to Josh that a task force investigator detected child sex abuse materials being shared in the West Arkansas area and was able to directly connect with the computer involved, retrieving a video, 65 images and an IP address traced back to Josh’s car lot.
“These are not actors and actresses. These are somebody’s little boy or little girl at the end of the day,” Agent Faulkner says. “Our main objective is to find out who’s doing it and what electronic device it’s being done on, so we can take these images back off the Internet so that these kids aren’t re-victimized.”
Josh then tells the agent he appreciates “the work you guys do,” before asking more questions regarding what was found in the investigation.
“I guess I have, I mean, I have quite a few questions about it, but I don’t know, you know, how much you can divulge,” he says. “I’m just curious, you’re saying there’s images being uploaded or images being downloaded?”
When given the opportunity to come clean about anything, Josh doesn’t.
“I’ve watched my friends, you know, answer things and they get them for conspiracy or for something,” he adds. “And I’m just, I’m not, federal statues are broad and there’s a lot of things to it and I’m not gonna say anything that’s gonna incriminate me or anything at all. I’m not denying guilt and I’m not, I’m not saying that I’m, you know, I mean, as far as anything goes, I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna say the wrong thing.
“I don’t wanna say that I’m guilty or not,” he continues. “I’m just saying, you know, on searching finding, accessing inappropriate content at some point, right, at any point in my life.”
Despite going on to be found guilty, Josh and his legal team are demanding a new trial and claiming Josh never viewed the downloaded files found on his devices.
Click here to listen to the full recording.
(Photos: TLC; The Ashley)