FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Josh Duggar has been released from jail by U.S. District Judge Christy Comstock ahead of his July trial. Duggar was arrested last week by US Marshals and faces two charges for receiving and possessing child porn. His attorneys say he plans to plead not guilty to both charges.
He appeared in court Wednesday (May 5) for a bond hearing over Zoom.
His attorneys, Travis Story, Greg Payne and Justin Gelfand, argued that he is not a threat to the community or flight risk and should be released on bail to third-party custodians ahead of his July 6 trial date.
He will not be allowed to return home to his wife and kids. He is allowed contact with his children, but only when his wife is present.
Under the release to third-party custodians, Duggar must wear a location monitor, have a probation officer's permission to leave the third-party custodians' home, cannot access the internet, and he cannot be inside a residency where firearms are stored.
The custodians, family friends, testified in court that Jim Bob Duggar reached out to them about hosting Josh.
Judge Comstock said she made her decision based on Duggar knowing about the investigation for the last 19 months and not trying to flee from Northwest Arkansas.
The "19 Kids and Counting" star was arrested in part with Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative led by the Department of Justice combating child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Duggar, 33, of Springdale, is accused of downloading and possessing child porn that depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 in May 2019.
During Wednesday's hearing, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Gerald Faulkner was called as a witness to testify. He stated that in May 2019, the FBI Little Rock Office traced materials described as child pornography downloaded through peer-to-peer file sharing torrents to an IP address in Fayetteville. After an investigation, Homeland Security agents matched the location to a used car lot Duggar owns in Springdale. Later that year, agents searched the property and seized multiple computers and Duggar's personal iPhone. Agent Faulkner claimed Duggar used a Linux partition on one of the computers at the car lot to get around software that alerted his wife if he viewed pornography. After analyzing the seized materials, Agent Faulkner says his team found several files depicting child porn on a computer that Duggar had accessed. He then went on to state that some of the types of images located on Duggar's computer ranked among the worst he has seen in his career investigating child pornography.
The reality TV star has made headlines in the past for allegedly molesting five minors, including four of his sisters, admitting to having a porn addiction and publicly apologizing to his wife, and being sued by a porn star for battery.
Duggar is a former member of the Family Research Council, an organization that lobbies for family values.
He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for each charge if convicted.