The prosecution in Josh Duggar’s trial responded this week to letters of support written by Josh’s wife, mom and others, while also slamming the former TLC star’s request to serve just five years in prison for his crimes of receiving and possessing child sex abuse materials (CSAM).
As The Ashley previously reported, Anna Duggar and Michelle Dugger (and others) recently wrote letters to judge Timothy L. Brooks– -who will be sentencing Josh next week–- begging him to show mercy on Josh by giving the 34-year-old a sentence of five years in prison– the shortest sentence legally allowed.
While Josh is requesting to serve the minimum sentence behind bars, the prosecution is demanding he receive the maximum of 20 years. The prosecution responded to the five- year request this week, criticizing those who penned letters on Josh’s behalf, while arguing many of the claims made in the letters.
“He claims that the writers are ‘extremely supportive while fully aware of his conviction[s],’ and that this ‘will enable him to make the most of the rest of his life and to work hard to ensure that his children’s lives are impacted as little as is possible’ by his trafficking in CSAM,” court documents obtained by The Sun read.
As for Josh (and his supporters) blaming his actions on “challenges” associated with the Duggar family’s 19 Kids and Counting fame, the prosecution believes the claims “only underscore the appropriateness of the Government’s sentencing recommendation.”
“Indeed, his supportive family and public-facing and privileged lifestyle make his pattern of criminal conduct all the more baffling.
“Despite achieving some level of fame through reality television as an adult, he is better known at this point for his behavior outside his family’s show, including his sexual improprieties and criminal sexual conduct,” the prosecution adds.
Another point made in the documents was that, in their letters, Anna, Michelle and Josh’s other acquaintances don’t actually address what Josh was convicted of– or the fact that he has a history of being sexually interested in very young females. Prosecutors argued that none of the Duggars’ letters “meaningfully grapple” with Josh’s crimes, nor his “sexual proclivities toward prepubescent girls.”
The prosecution argues it’s unlikely Josh will ever get the treatment and accountability required to prevent him from reoffending.
“In fact, given the apparent success of his blame tactics with some of the individuals he intends to surround himself with after his release from incarceration, it is not just unlikely– it is unconceivable,” the documents claim.
The prosecution did acknowledge Josh’s time in prison will “undoubtedly reverberate through his immediate and extended family”; however, they note it is unfortunately something that occurs in many criminal cases, and that it is not something that is unique to Josh and his clan.
“ …particularly in cases like this one, where Duggar appears to have hidden his reprehensible conduct from those closest to him up until his conviction.”
On the same day that the prosecution filed its document, the defense filed one of its own, officially responding to the Government’s sentencing recommendation. According to KNWA/KFTA, the filing–- signed by defense attorney Justin Gelfand–- noted a “total lack of support” for the request that Josh be sentenced to the maximum sentence permitted by law, arguing a lack of cases in which a similarly-situated defendant has received a 20-year sentence for receiving CSAM.
The defense called the prosecution’s suggested sentence “excessive, entirely unwarranted, and unprecedented given the alleged crime.”
The defense also claims the Government’s filings have described in great detail some of the CSAM downloaded on Josh’s computer, alleging it was “clearly intended to provoke an emotional response in the hopes that this court will hand down an unnecessarily harsh sentence in this case.”
Instead, the defense argues, the court should focus on what the evidence in the case “actually revealed, even in the light most favorable to the Government for the purposes of sentencing.”
The defense maintained its claim that much of the illegal material was “never on the computer” or “never viewed by any user of the computer.” Documents also stated that the court needs to avoid sentencing disparities, pointing to an individual in another case who received a sentence of 75 months for receiving more than 20,000 images of CSAM.
Josh’s “pattern of activity” cited by the Government was also addressed, with the defense noting Josh never went before a judge, nor was he convicted of any crime as a juvenile– referring to allegations that Josh molested five minors (including four of his little sisters) when he was a teenager.
Josh’s sentencing is set to take place May 25.
(Photos: Instagram; TLC)