Shortly after Josh Duggar was convicted of receiving and posessing child pornography, his attorneys announced their intention to appeal the decision.
An effort to have the conviction overturned without a re-trial was predictably shot down last month.
Now, Josh’s lawyers are requesting a second trial, insisting that new evidence not only exonerates their client but incriminates the real perpetrator.
After a long delay, the prosecution responded to the defense’s filing on Friday:
“[Duggar’s] barebones argument ignores the ample proof beyond any reasonable doubt that he repeatedly downloaded and viewed this material," prosecutors Dustin Roberts, Carly Marshall, and William Clayman wrote in a document obtained by local Fox affiliate KNWA.
The defense claims that Josh was framed by a co-worker named Caleb Williams.
They’re arguing that Williams surreptitiously used Josh’s office and computer to download child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) without Duggar’s knowledge.
They claim that Williams then contacted federal authorities to blow the whistle on Josh in an effort to cover up his own crimes.
According to Josh’s request for a retrial, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence of this claim and thus denied a request from the defense to call Williams to the stand as a witness.
Now, Josh’s lawyers are arguing that they deserve a second chance in court so that they can better explore the Williams angle.
"The notion that Caleb Williams committed these offenses is pure fiction—a story advanced by the defense for the sole purpose of casting blame, regardless of evidence to the contrary, on a sex offender," prosecutors wrote in their counter-filing.
"Yet the defendant now claims he is entitled to a new trial because the Court precluded him from calling Mr. Williams as an alternative-perpetrator witness," they continued.
"A review of the record reveals the opposite: the Court allowed the defendant to call Mr. Williams to develop this theory but simply limited his ability to introduce evidence of Mr. Williams’s prior sex offense pursuant to the Federal Rules of Evidence."
As we previously reported, photos of Josh’s office that were taken during a federal raid seem to undermine the Williams theory in several important ways.
For starters, the workspace could only be entered by punching a code into a digital combination lock, which means that it would have been impossible for anyone to come or go without Josh’s knowledge.
And since the space was too small to fit two people at a time, it seems unlikely that Williams could have downloaded CSAM after being granted entry by Josh, who would presumably remain in the office as well.
The push for a retrial was inevitable, but it seems that those who are worried about Josh being set free can breathe easy.
The narrative that Josh was framed by a malicious co-worker is absurd on its face, and the jury at a second trial is certain to see right through it.
And with any luck, the appeal process won’t even go that far.
"The Government respectfully requests that the Court deny the defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal or for a new trial," prosecutors concluded their filing.
Josh has a top-dollar defense team and nothing to lose, so there’s a very good chance that he’ll get a second trial at some point.
But at this point, it seems that his appeals will do little more than provide the known predator with a faint glimmer of hope as he spends the bulk of the next two decades behind bars.