Josh Duggar and his lawyers say charges against him should be dismissed because of alleged problems with evidence
In court filings seen by NBC News, Duggar’s lawyers claim that investigators failed to preserve “exculpatory evidence” that may have helped Duggar’s case. They also say the investigation, done by the Department of Homeland Security, is invalid because two acting secretaries of the department were not properly appointed during the Trump administration.
Duggar faces federal charges of both possessing and receiving child sexual abuse materials, some depicting children under age 12, according to investigators. The charges stem from a computer that was removed from Duggar’s Arkansas car lot during a search. Court documents show that during that search, investigators also searched three witnesses’ cellphones, one of whom was a “person of interest” in the case. Reports say that no child porn was found on the cellphones.
“The problem is that HSI may have not identified evidence of child pornography during the field examination of these devices – but failed to preserve other potentially exculpatory evidence,” a new filing from Duggar’s team reads. “What happened here is as clear as it is troubling, the Government concluded the three devices they searched did not further its case against Duggar and therefore deprived Duggar of the opportunity to access this potentially exculpatory evidence.”
In addition to the alleged problems with evidence, Duggar’s lawyers are trying to claim that the investigation is invalid because Kevin McAleenan and Chad Wolf were each incorrectly installed as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security after then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned. They claim that these “unlawful appointments” should result in dismissing the case.
Duggar is currently awaiting trial after being released from custody in May. Under the conditions of his release, he cannot see his children unless his wife is present, and must live on a property where no children live. He’s been living with Duggar family friends for several months. Josh Duggar formerly made headlines when it was revealed that he had molested a number of girls, some of them children, when he was a teenager. When police documents from that incident became public, TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting, the show that helped the Duggar family rise to fame.