LIVE UPDATES From Inside the Courthouse at Josh Duggar’s Sentencing Hearing: Josh’s Sentence, Duggar Family Reactions & More

Josh Duggar heard his fate today….

Josh Duggar will be sentenced today for receiving child sex abuse materials (CSAM), a crime he was found guilty of at his trial back in December.

The Ashley‘s reporters are live in the courtroom in Fayetteville, Arkansas and will be providing updates on the sentencing, as well as which members of the Duggar Family arrive in court to show their support for Josh, who is facing a sentence of between five and 20 years.

Judge Timothy Brooks has banned all recording devices from the courtroom so no footage of the sentencing hearing will be available. However, The Ashley’s team will be updating this story as things happen!

The John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building where Josh’s sentencing is being held.

Update 1:

Josh’s ever-loyal wife, Anna Duggar, was among the first to arrive at the courthouse. According to The Ashley’s reporter, Anna was wearing a knee-length long-sleeved navy blue dress, heels and a face mask. In the time since she was last seen publicly in December at Josh’s trial, her hair has been lightened and is much more blond. Anna was standing in the line to get in, just like everyone else.

Update 2: 

Next up to arrive was Jim Bob Duggar. He came without his fertile Fundie wife, Michelle (who did not attend any days of Josh’s trial). Unlike at Josh’s trial, when he would arrive smiling and waving to the press, Jim Bob’s mood was “somber” as he walked into the courthouse, according to The Ashley’s reporter.

Update 3:

Josh’s sister Joy Anna Forsyth has arrived at the courthouse (without her husband Austin, who attended most of the days of Josh’s trial.) She arrived with younger brother Jason Duggar.

Update 4: 

It does not appear that Derick Dillard (husband of Jill) is present for the sentencing, although he attended every day of Josh’s trial. (He did recently get a new job, so that may be the reason.) On the morning of the sentencing, though, Derick tweeted a specific Bible verse that appeared to be aimed at his brother-in-law.

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good….But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:3,4)”

Caleb Williams, a former friend of the Duggar Family and the man Josh and his team pointed to as a possible “alternative perpetrator” during the post-trial retweeted Derick’s tweet, adding, “Every action bears a positive or negative consequence. Some actions require punishment. That is necessary. Whatever comes of today, that is necessary.”

He later added, “Pray for the investigators and law enforcement that have to view these deplorable pieces of content to bring accountability. Thank you to Special Agent Faulkner, Homeland Security, AUSA Dustin Roberts, and AUSA Carly Marshall for fighting for accountability.”

Update 5:

Bobye Holt— who provided pivotal testimony at Josh’s trial about his molestations of four of his sisters and another young girl— is present at the sentencing. She was spotted outside the courthouse by The Ashley’s reporter. As The Ashley has previously reported, Bobye and her husband Jim were once best friends with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and Bobye’s daughter Kaeleigh was once “promised” to Josh as a young teen. 

During and after the trial, Bobye has been outspoken about her desire to see Josh sentenced for his crimes. 

While on the first break from court, Bobye posted a photo of herself at the courthouse, along with a meme that states, “To do justice and judgement is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” 

Update 6:

The court has taken its first break. According to The Ashley’s reporter (who is inside the courtroom), Anna was talking to her brother David Keller and his wife Hannah, who sat next to her in the courtroom. Her brother David Waller is also present.

“At one point they were laughing and Anna gave the attorney the thumbs-up sign,” The Ashley’s reporter stated. 

Jason and Joy did not sit by Anna or Jim Bob, and instead chose to sit together in the back row of the galley. They were joined by James Duggar

“All three look more somber than Anna Duggar,” The Ashley’s reporter stated. 

Update 7:

(FYI this is not a photo from today)

Josh is dressed in a suit and not a jail jumpsuit as expected. He seemed surprised to see some of his brothers in the courtroom, The Ashley’s reporter stated. He confirmed to Judge Brooks that he has not taken any drugs today, and that he understands what’s happening in court today. 

(When he walked into the courtroom, Anna signed “I love you” to him…by the way.)


Trigger Warning: the content from this point on contains mentions of child sex abuse and child sex abuse materials.

Update 8: 

The first part of the hearing was spent dealing with the 22 objections that Josh’s legal team had to the pre-sentence report (PSR). 

Judge Brooks reminded the court that Josh “no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence.”

After dismissing Objection 1 for being “too broad,” they addressed Objection 2, where Josh’s lawyer objected to the children featured in the CSAM that Josh had being called “victims.” He declared that they are not Josh’s victims, and says that Josh maintains his innocence and that he has not victimized anyone. The judge overruled the “objection having to do with semantics.”

The judge also overruled Objection No. 3, which was that Josh contends that he did not knowingly engage in distribution of CSAM. 

“With respect to the distribution, the simple fact that a peer-to-peer file sharing was used that alone doesn’t meet the definition of distribution,” Josh’s lawyer Justin Gelfand told the court. “There’s no evidence of intentional or knowledgeable distribution or alleged child p0rnography.” 

Prosecutor Carly Marshall stated, “There are many facts in this case that there is no evidence of ignorance of distribution.” She said that the facts are that Josh was a “savvy computer user” who downloaded and installed programs to circumvent the Christian accountability software Covenant Eyes.

“There is ample evidence to show he factually distributed child p0rnography,” she added. 

Update 9: 

Next, Josh’s legal team objected to the enhancement Josh received for distribution. Judge Brooks ruled to sustain it.

For Objection 5, Josh’s lawyer Justin Gelfand argued that the CSAM image series (which The Ashley is choosing to not specifically name) in question don’t display sadism and masochism (S&M).

“The judge stated the pic(s) show child rape being depicted,” The Ashley’s reporter stated. “The judge seemed annoyed with Josh’s attorney objecting to the child rape being described as sadism and masochism.

“You’ve said it three times and I don’t understand,” the judge said to Josh’s lawyer. “I don’t understand and I think it’s a frivolous argument.”

The judge went on to overrule this objection.

Objection 6 was overruled. It stated that Josh objects to the fact that it is described as a “pattern” of sexual abuse of minors. (They are referring to the fact that Josh molested four of his sisters and another young girl when he was a teen. He was never charged for those crimes.) 

Objection 7 was regarding the fact that the Government says that Josh had 500+ CSAM images. They say at most it was 197. The judge seemed “annoyed again,” according to The Ashley’s reporter, and told Josh’s lawyer, “This is not a negotiation.”

There needs to be 600 images in order for it to qualify as a third-tier offense and get a Level 5 enhancement. Since they have 590, the judge sustained Objection No. 7, but stated it’s not a Level 4 enhancement.

Objection 10 was in regard to the fact that Josh and his team object to including Josh’s teenage molestations of his sisters and the other young girl. It was ruled “moot,” since Objection No. 6 was previously overruled.

Objections 11 and 12 had to do with Josh’s 2015 Ashley Madison scandal. (Shortly after news broke in 2015 that Josh had molested the five young girls as a teen, it was discovered that he had been paying for a subscription to the adultery website Josh later confessed to being “unfaithful” to his wife Anna.

Josh’s attorneys want the scandal to stricken from the record because, in a very early statement Josh released shortly after the scandal was unearthed, he admitted to having an addiction to p0rnography. (The statement was quickly changed to omit that phrase, though.)

Josh’s lawyers stated that this does not mean that Josh had/has a “true addiction” and that “infidelity does not need to be included in a pre-sentence report.” Judge Brooks agreed that Josh’s infidelity was not relevant to the case and won’t be factored into the sentencing. The judge said that Josh’s admission of a p0rn addiction is relevant, though.

The prosecution had wanted the scandal included because it proves that Josh had “moral shortcomings” when it came to his being the “family man” his friends and family described him as.

Update 10:

Joy Duggar Forsyth

Joy had been sitting in the galley, but when they began to discuss Josh’s crimes against her when she was a very young child, she got up and left the courtroom. She later returned to the courtroom looking upset. The Ashley’s reporter stated that, while Joy was gone, James and Jason looked distraught for her.

Update 11: 

Objections No. 16 and 17 had to do with restricting Josh’s contact with minors when he is on supervised release. Judge Brooks stated that they will discuss and rule on it at a later time.

Objections No. 18, 19 and 20 had to do with financial aspects of the case. All were dismissed or withdrawn, and it was ruled that no restitution [for victims] would be sought. 

Update 12: 

Earlier in the court session, Judge Brooks addressed the letters that Josh’s friends and family had written to the court to praise Josh. (As The Ashley previously reported, these letters came from Josh’s mom Michelle Duggar, his wife Anna, his brother-in-law David Waller and others.) 

“A number of letters were written in support of you,” the judge told Josh, calling the letters “very helpful.” The judge also addressed a victim impact statement that came from the mother of the child featured in one series of CSAM that Josh downloaded. (In that letter, the mother stated that this is not a “victimless crime” and even included a statement from her daughter, the girl featured in the videos.) 

The judge called this statement “heartbreaking.” (The Ashley’s reporter stated that Anna showed “absolutely no emotion” during the time this was being discussed.) 

Jim Bob never acknowledged Joy, Jason or James, who were all in the courtroom.

Update 13:

Outside the courthouse, while the court was on recess…

12:15 p.m. CST: Court is back in session. 

Update 14:

2:35 p.m. CST: Court has been let out! Josh has been sentenced to 12.5 years in federal prison by Judge Timothy Brooks.  

According to The Ashley’s courtroom reporter, Josh sat quietly while the sentence was read, but began “scribbling furiously” on his notes soon after. The judge did not inform Josh where he would be imprisoned; however it’s reportedly between the Federal Corrections Institution in Texarkana, Arkansas (which is 4.5 hours away from Josh’s home in Springdale, Arkansas), or the prison in Seagoville, Texas. (That prison is nearly six hours from Springdale.)

Judge Brooks recommended Josh go to Seagoville, as he stated that it has a “good sex offender program.” He recommends Josh seek sex offender treatment, but noted that Josh is not required to do it.

Josh’s legal team asked the judge to send Josh to the Federal Corrections Institution in Seagoville, Texas.

Anna and Jim Bob “showed no reaction” to the sentencing; however, “Jason Duggar hunched over as the sentence was read” The Ashley’s reporter added. 

Update 15: 

Before the sentence was read, Prosecutor Dustin Roberts stated that Josh “is likely to offend again,” due in part to his refusal to take responsibility for his actions. He also doubted that Josh would take part in sex offender treatment.

“He has never received medical treatment for his addiction,” Dustin said, mentioning that Josh did not get actual sex offender treatment after he molested his sisters and the other young girl as a teen.

Dustin Roberts also stated that the things Josh is interested in sexually are “concerning.” 

Dustin also brought up the fact that Josh is from a large family that has a lot of children, and that he has seven kids himself. He directly asked Josh, “Were you thinking of your family when you committed the crime?” (According to The Ashley’s court reporter, Josh kept his head down the entire time and was writing on a notepad during Dustin’s statements.) 

“Mr. Duggar knew more than anybody the scandal it would cause,” Dustin stated. “Mr. Duggar comes from a wealthy, privileged family.” (He also pointed out that Josh’s family can financially provide for Anna and the kids.) 

Josh’s attorney also spoke, noting that Anna has continued to support Josh throughout the trial, which is telling because “she knows him best.” He also discussed some of the topics covered in Anna & Co.’s letters to the judge, noting that all of the good deeds mentioned show “who Josh Duggar actually is.”

“Josh is a good person who has more to offer his family,” Josh’s attorney stated.

He later requested that Josh be imprisoned at the FCI in Texas, Texarkana or Fort Worth. He also argued for the five-year sentence. 

“What’s really accomplished by a longer sentence?” Josh’s lawyer asked the judge. “In this case, nothing is accomplished with a longer sentence. Josh Duggar is not someone who will find himself before this court or any other again.”

Josh’s lawyer also said that they feel the prosecution is being harder on Josh than prosecutors were in similar cases where the men were given less time. He suspects this is because Josh and his family are famous.

“This case has garnered a lot of attention not because of the crimes but because of his last name,” he said. “We are asking the court to treat Joshua Duggar like similar cases. I want to add a dose of compassion to this case.”

Update 16:

Although Josh chose not to speak at his sentencing, Judge Brooks did speak out about Josh’s actions, stating that this is among “the most-serious” of cases because it involved child sex abuse, even if it was not “hands-on” abuse. The judge noted that one of the CSA files Josh had bothered him the most and that he had not been able to get it out of his head. The judge called it “the sickest of the sickest.”

Judge Brooks also brought up Josh’s previous molestations of his sisters and the other young girl, noting that Josh’s “sexual interest is the same,” insinuating that Josh’s attraction to young girls has not changed since he was a teen.

“You have done some very bad things,” the judge told Josh, adding that his actions have not been all bad. However, he reminded Josh that the “true test” of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching him.

He told Josh that he molested one of the Jane Does (from his teen molestations) when she was five years old and he was 15. He noted that the most of the girls in the CSAM Josh had were in “the very same age group as those Jane Does.” 

Judge Brooks acknowledged that Josh had not been charged with any other “hands on” abuse; however he did note that we don’t know if that’s because Josh stopped molesting victims or if he just got better at hiding it.

The judge went on to tell Josh that he will still be young when he gets out of prison. (Josh is currently 34, so if he serves his full sentence he will about 46 when he is released from prison.) He also brought up the fact that Josh has a huge family, whom the judge says he hopes will help Josh transition back into regular life after release. 

He did, however, scold Josh for not taking responsibility for his crimes.

“I find it to be aggravating, the lack of acceptance or responsibility,” Judge Brooks said. (According to The Ashley’s court reporter, this was the only time Jim Bob showed any reaction to what was happening in court. He was “shifting uncomfortably in his seat” during this part of the judge’s speech.)

Judge Brooks noted that Josh had no infractions while he was out on bond.

Update 17: 

At one point during the hearing, Bobye Holt hugged Jason Duggar outside the courtroom. (As The Ashley previously reported, the Holt and Duggar families used to be best friends.) 

Update 17:

Anna left the courthouse without saying anything to the press. She looked down as she made her way outside. Jim Bob also refused to comment or acknowledge the press after the sentencing. You can watch their reactions in the video below.

Update 18:

In a minute sheet obtained by The Ashley on Wednesday, Judge Brooks spelled out special conditions that Josh must abide by after he gets out of prison (after serving at least 10 years, six months, of course). These conditions must be upheld by Josh for the 20 years following his release and include what he can— and can not— do in regard to his minor children, marijuana and more. 

Click here to read the “special conditions” of Josh’s probation!

(Photos: Instagram; TLC; YouTube; The Ashley)

82 Responses

  1. The judge is right, it’s who you are when no one is looking that matters. All those things Michelle and Co. wrote to the judge mean nothing when this is who he is when he’s alone. I hope his parents took precautions when their other children were around Josh but I seriously doubt it. They try so hard to protect their kids from “the world” but allowed a sex offender to live on their property. Watch out for Jill’s nose ring though. Just crazy

  2. Even though 12 years seems like a small sentence compared to what he downloaded, it’s actually more than most similar cases.
    Let’s not forget that he also has 20 years probation after prison, which prohibits him from being close to a minor, from going on the internet and from watching porn, even normal porn.

    It is obvious that he will violate his terms of probation, thinking himself smarter than the others. He will be retried and his sentence will be higher.
    The cop who gave him a sermon as a teenager was also sentenced for CSA, a weak sentence at first. The moron violated his probation and received a sentence equivalent to life in view of his age.

    May JFelon be dumb enough to scuttle himself right out!

    Finally, I would say that 12 years in prison as a known pedophile can feel like an eternity of well-deserved suffering. I do not want a fellow prisoner to kill him, I prefer 12 years of bullying, beatings and insults so that he endures a little of the suffering that we know the young victims. Roast well in Hell, you filthy human shit!

  3. Josh is definatly going to start having sex with men if he has to spend 12 yrs in the pen. A sex addict like Josh cannot go without.

    1. Him being a chomo… Its going to be the other way around.

      Hes 10000000% powerless once he hits the yard.

    1. I thought the same. I want to throw up. How can she stand by such a depraved disgusting creature??? What if it had been her OWN CHILDREN? She disgusts me.

  4. I’m just going to be glad his children will be older by the time he’s released and his wife will hopefully be done with menopause. She was just creating future potential victims for him.

  5. If Josh is the sickest of the sick why didn’t he get the max??? I’m disgusted beyond belief. There is no justice in this world

    1. It’s due to Josh’s lack of prior criminal history. He was never charged with the prior molestations as a teen. He also complied with conditioned release orders while awaiting trial. All these things are taken into account.

  6. Anna is a complete moron and will wait out every day until Joshie Poo is released from prison and no doubt reoffends.?

    I’m pissed that it was just 12.5 years, it should have been the full 20. I hope that he doesn’t get time off for good behavior because that could see his sentence cut drastically.

    I take issue with this dumbass statement from the Judge:

    “You have done some very bad things,” the judge told Josh, adding that his actions have not been all bad.

    That is one of the most idiotic statements I have ever heard. He does heinous crimes involving children and I am supposed to pretend that the few times Josh did anything good negates the fact that he is a predator and pedophile? GTFOH!??

    1. I read that there is no good behavior or parole in federal prison which is where he is going

  7. I’m really shocked. I don’t know how he only got 12.5 years. I thought they would make an example out of him. I wonder if good behavior and such will shorten his time. This made my stomach turn.

    1. The Bureau of Prisons makes that decision. Good news, in the federal prison system there is no parole.

    1. Every day is going to be hell in there for a D list celeb chomo.

      He better join a gang (WS) or pay all his commission to one if he wants any protection at all

  8. Josh and his pedo-smile. He deserves the maximum sentence as he’s clearly a repeat offender and I don’t believe his children are safe with him. He doesn’t even take some semblance of responsibility for his despicable actions. If he did it to his sisters he’ll do it to his kids.

  9. Bury him under the jail. Send his parents and Anna along for the ride. Enablers, the lot of them. None should be responsible for raising and protecting children.

    And I know that his lawyers are doing their jobs, yadda yadda, but I have no idea how they can do this and not take a Silkwood shower every day. Or face any kids that they have.

  10. I really hope Joy has a safe and supportive home life with her husband and is receiving the proper care she deserves! I can’t imagine how hard this is for all his victims! And how confusing and stressful this has to be for his other siblings! Cult family or not there’s no chance that all of their sibilings believe the BS they are being fed about Josh and his victims! I hope as many siblings as possible will find peace and a fulfilling life in the future!

    But my heart breaks for Joy and her sisters!!!!!

  11. How were these photos ever taken from the impact statement child. The mother should be accountable for letting that happen to her daughter as well

    1. Have you heard of child sex trafficking and kidnapping?
      The mother’s statement said he daughter is free from the people who hurt here and she is safe.
      Maybe look up who made the original images.

    2. That’s a little judgmental. It could have happened with a person whom she trusted, a friends house she trusted, church, anywhere.

  12. He had an opportunity to change, he even went to a treatment facility. Pornography is one thing, but child pornography is the lowest of the low. Lastly, that smirk on his face on his mugshot says something also.

    1. I don’t know anything about the pictures, but the mother may not have known. It could have been done by a babysitter, her father during a visitation weekend, etc. If the mother perpetrated it she likely wouldn’t have done the statement at all.

  13. I’ve known this disgusting human and his family since he was 2 years old. Twenty years isnt even enough. He will never stop offending, and Anna is under the thumb of the Duggar cult. She has been taught to be submissive her whole life. At least 20 years will allow his kids to grow up without being at risk of being molested by him.

  14. After the mass school shooting this week and the fact that things will never change as far as that goes, if Josh gets less than 15 years I’m done with humanity.

  15. The Ashley, can you time stamp the updates so we can follow along as it goes? I’m just curious as to how often it’s being updated and want to check back frequently.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Mattie. I know the feeling of being sexually assaulted and never having the person be made to pay the piper, so to speak. But the fact that it’s by a parent is unconscionable. I’m with you that 20 years would not be enough.

  16. His lawyer is a deplorable person. How can you continue to stand and object to these children being referred to as “victims” or prepubescent babies being raped as “sadism”?? You’re arguing to have a vile monster released and put back into the home of small children. Absolutely appalling.

    1. They have to put forth their best argument or there is the chance he could have his conviction overturned because of a failure of duty by his attorney

    2. As heinous and sick as his crimes are he does have a constitutional right to have a fair trial with the best defense he can put on.

      Sadly being rich means you can pay the best lawyers and right now his legal team is just trying to throw everything against the wall see what sticks.

  17. Anna doesn’t know appropriate manners for a court hearing. Your husband is a pedophile! I’m pretty sure people would love to smack that thumbs up right off of you!

  18. I really feel for Anna’s kids right now. I’d be curious to know how all this has been explained to them. I’m really hoping Anna pulls her head out of the collective Duggar ass and realizes what’s actually happening around her but knowing how this cult operates, it’s unlikely she ever will.

    I hope he gets the max sentence. I hope his kids are safe and we never have a follow up from any Duggar saying another one of them has been abused.

  19. Hoping he’ll get the max and Anna will become un-brainwashed from that “family” or enablers!

  20. There would never be footage because cameras aren’t allowed in federal courthouses. The judge did ban vocal recording for this hearing.

  21. You are doing an excellent job. We can all only hope this monster gets the maximum sentence for any less is an affront and a slap in the face of the innocent children who are victims.

    1. Same here. My husband asked me if I had a problem with my phone! I shouldn’t feel so implicated, but I can’t.

  22. This is really ugly of me but I hope Josh and Jim Bob are not wearing their ever present smirks today or for a long time.

    1. That’s not at all ugly of you. Besides, if that made you ugly it makes me hideous. Sorry, I’m trying to make some light in an otherwise rotten situation.

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