Josh Duggar and his legal team are doing everything they can to get the 19 Kids & Counting star sprung from prison.
In a brief filed earlier this week, Josh Duggar’s legal team continued its arguments to have the reality star granted a new trial for receiving child sex abuse materials (CSAM). The team alleges Josh’s rights were violated during the raid on his business in 2019 and that he was denied the ability to fully defend himself by presenting a case against his former friend and co-worker Caleb Williams during his 2021 trial.
As The Ashley previously reported, Josh’s Arkansas used car lot was raided in 2019 by federal agents. In the Reply Brief filed by Josh’s lawyer this week, it’s claimed that Josh was deprived of the ability to call his attorney, or leave the car lot as it was being raided, on that day in November 2019. (The Sun was the first to report on the Reply Brief.)
“Duggar—blindsided in a rural area, surrounded by armed agents wearing ballistic vests, and without access to a vehicle—attempted to call his attorney only to have his phone physically taken and was told his attorney would not be allowed on the scene,” the brief states, later adding, “The Government clings to the notion that Duggar was allegedly told he was free to leave—even though the Government is silent about the inconvenient fact that he had no means to leave…
“He would have effectively had to walk on the shoulder of a rural highway to leave the police-dominated environment.” (They add that, had Josh tried to do that, he would have looked suspicious to the agents.)
The Brief also states that Josh was technically “restrained” from leaving the car lot that day.
“The Government also contends Duggar was not restrained…But restraint is about more than being handcuffed. Duggar was placed in a police vehicle with two armed agents. He was told his attorney could not join him after he attempted to call counsel, and he had no access to a vehicle.”
“…This Court should conclude a reasonable person in Duggar’s position would have felt ‘deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.’”
“Law enforcement made a choice here: instead of safeguarding Duggar’s rights, they physically stopped him from speaking with counsel and told him his lawyer could not come to the scene,” the Brief adds.
Josh’s lawyers also take shots at Government’s expert witness, James Fottrell, whose testimony about the technology used was instrumental in the Government’s case against Josh.
“Fottrell was never qualified to offer this critical testimony in the first place. He lacks any expertise concerning the [geolocation] technology used…” Josh’s legal team states.
However, Josh & Co.’s main argument for a new trial for Josh focuses on Caleb. In the past Josh and his team (as well as his faithful wife Anna) have publicly stated that Josh was not allowed to present evidence he claims proves that Caleb could have been the one at Josh’s computer accessing the CSAM. (Caleb has denied this claim, stating that there’s proof that he wasn’t even in the state of Arkansas when the CSAM was downloaded.)
In the Brief, Josh’s legal team claims the possibility that Caleb “remoted in” from his location and accessed Josh’s computer was never allowed to be explored properly, because Caleb said he wasn’t in the area at the time of the crimes.
“This is the rare case where a criminal defendant was deprived of ‘a meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense.’.. However, instead of engaging with Duggar’s argument, the Government attempts to change the rules and rewrite history. But the record below and an accused’s ‘right to present his own witnesses to establish a defense’ stand strong.
“The jury here did not hear alternative perpetrator evidence—because while Duggar could call Williams [to the witness stand], the court expressly ruled that if Williams denied being at the business on specific dates and denied remotely accessing the computer, Duggar could not further inquire and could not impeach Williams with his conviction,” the Brief states.
Josh and his team claim that law enforcements didn’t properly investigate the idea that Caleb could have been responsible and didn’t analyze Caleb’s devices. They also claim that the possibility that Josh’s computer could have been accessed remotely.
“The [CSAM] images and videos were ‘streamed,’ suggesting remote access was possible…Williams regularly used the computer…and the Government withheld evidence concerning Williams,” the Brief states.
“If permitted to inquire, Duggar would have established Williams: worked at the business; had familiarity with the computer and its software; engaged in eBay sales and utilized the computer to print labels; sent a text message on May 7, 2019 offering to watch the business that week; spent the night one mile from the business on May 9, 2019; and concealed all metadata on documents provided to the Government in an attempt to establish he was not present.”
“Duggar’s evidence that Williams had the access, opportunity, knowledge, and motive to commit the crimes charged was more than sufficient,” the Brief later states.
Caleb— who has denied all of Josh’s claims and stated in October (after the initial appeal was filed)– that he pities Josh and his family.
“Many, not all, of the Duggar family are still living in an alternate reality where the clear facts of a case are still being questioned,” Caleb wrote on his website at the time, later adding that he is upset that the family– whom he was once close to— would try to pin Josh’s actions on him.
“I’m sad that the Duggars, a family I assumed were my friends, are trying to accuse me of such horrific crimes,” Caleb wrote.
1/5 It’s hard to come to grips with losing people you thought were your friends.
Laughed together, shared life experiences, and cried together.
— Caleb Williams (@CalebAWilliams) October 5, 2022
He has stated that he feels that he is only being blamed by Josh because of his sex offender status. (Caleb was arrested for criminal sex abuse in November 2018 after being accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old on or between May 2015 through May 2018. Caleb was 23 at the time. After negotiating a plea agreement, the former Duggar family friend was sentenced to 62 days in jail and 18 months probation.)
This week, Caleb posted Josh’s latest appeal Reply Brief to his Twitter account and addressed some of the points Josh made in his appeal. He stated that, contrary to Josh’s claims, he didn’t use “regularly use” Josh’s computer at Wholesale Motors; that he used his own laptop for eBay sales at the car lot, and that he was out of the state when the CSAM files were accessed.
1. I did not “regularly use” Josh Duggars computer. Josh would print eBay labels for me at his lot. The last label he printed for me was around 1-2 months prior to his criminal acts. pic.twitter.com/Ooa0PwBqF0
— Caleb Williams (@CalebAWilliams) December 28, 2022
The day before the brief was filed, Caleb outlined on Twitter why he believes he’s been scapegoated by Josh’s legal team.
“Why did Josh Duggars legal team avoid asking questions about his family and friends that were actually in town during his criminal activity? Brothers, sisters, [his father] Jim Bob, people that live with his family? Instead, they targeted me? I was not part of the brand,” he wrote.
He also shot down Josh & Co.’s claims that he could have been in two states on the same day, making it a possibility that he was the one who accessed the CSAM on Josh’s computer.
“It must be nice to pull fallacies out of thin air, throw them at a wall and hope they stick,” Caleb tweeted. “Yes, I drove back to Illinois from Arkansas on May 11, 2019. What they fail to mention is my appointment at the Apple store 5 hours away in St. Louis that afternoon.”
He also slammed Josh and his lawyers’ claims that Caleb had access, opportunity, knowledge and motive to commit the crimes that Josh was convicted of.
“A. Access, false, I was two states away. B. Opportunity, false, supra. C. knowledge, false, I have never used Linux in my life. D. Motive, false, I’m not a sadist. E. Story Law Firm and every lawyer filing this brief should be sanctioned,” Caleb tweeted.
In the Reply Brief, Josh and his team ask that the judge overturn the guilty verdict Josh received in December 2021 and give the former “19 Kids & Counting” star a new trial.
“Duggar respectfully requests that this Court vacate his conviction, suppress his statement, and remand for a new trial,” the Brief states.
Josh is currently serving a 151-month sentence at Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Seagoville near Dallas, Texas.
On Twitter, Caleb encouraged Josh to take responsibility for his own actions.
“I’m also not saying Josh is not beyond help, but help comes when you acknowledge your wrong and move forward,” he wrote on Wednesday.
You can read the full Reply Brief filed by Josh and his legal team here.
(Photos: Instagram; Twitter; YouTube)