There’s a good chance that disgraed reality star Josh Duggar learns his legal fate on Thursday, December 9.
And there’s now a good chance that whether or not he’s found guilty on charges of child pornography possession comes down to his very own words from just over two years ago.
Allow us to explain…
On Wednesday, following about four and a half hours of deliberation, the jury in Duggar’s case made a very specific request.
Via a note signed by two members, they asked the judge if they could re-listen to audio from Duggar’s interview with law enforcement on November 8, 2019.
This took place at the time Homeland Security agents were searching Josh’s used car lot in Arkansas and seizing his electronic devices.
The 25-minute recording was initially played in court last week during the prosecution’s presentation.
It features the father of seven running down which of his devices were at the car lot at the time of the search… including the HP desktop in the office that was later found to be used to access sexually graphic material of minors.
The defense is not even arguing that this occurred.
They are simply stating that we cannot be 100% certain Duggar was the one who downloaded various disgusting videos.
Back when agents arrived at his place of work, Duggar delved into the router there and and how he had recently reconfigured it for security.
He said he was familiar with the kinds of file-sharing networks used in this case.
Unprompted, Duggar also cites the Tor internet browser, another program experts have testified was used to access the heinous material in question.
(Tor preserves a user’s anonymity and, notoriously, provides access to the so-called "Dark Web.")
We cannot say for certain exactly why the jury wanted to analyze this piece of evidence for a second time.
But Duggar’s defense team said on multiple occasions in court that its client only has a high school education.
Basically, he is simply too ignorant and uneducated to try and hide any type of illegal computer use.
It’s conceivable the jury wants to gain a better understanding of what, exactly, Duggar himself admitted to knowing back when his workplace was raided.
Elsewhere in the audio, Duggar learns the basis of the search warrant: that his business’ IP address was linked to the sharing of child pornography.
He then wonders if "there [is] something going on on my devices."
He says he expects the investigators will be able to "narrow it down" as to the source of the illicit content and adds that he had not seen any red flags about this sort of behavior from any of his employees or anyone at the car lot.
There’s also this possibly damning statement from Duggar toward the end of the back-and-forth:
"I’m not saying that I’m guilty or not."
Around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the jury was excused for the night. They will resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and may very well reach a verdict at some point today.
Duggar was arrested in April and has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession.
He faces up to 40 years in jail.
As part of his closing argument, Duggar attorney Justin Gelfand scoffed at the notion that Josh was sophisticated enough to download these images and videos, alluding to the possibility that his computer may have been hacked.
"Each of you has the power to say no if a single reasonable doubt remains in your mind," he told the jury.
Prosecutor Carly Marshall, meanwhile, listed all the technical evidence against Duggar.
Specifically, how the section of his computer that featured the pornography was protected with a password Josh has used often over the years.
"Is this really a whodunit?" she asked.
"His car lot. His office. His computer."
"His family on a desktop background. His password."
"Evidence in this case points to Josh Duggar."
Marshall also noted in her closing argument how the trial in many ways boiled down to densely technical testimony by dueling experts, acknowledging to jurors:
"Y’all heard a lot of information in this trial over the past week."
"Follow the trail," she said, and ask:
"Where does it go?"
If we had to guess where that trail goes?
Probably to a federal prison.
For a long, long time.