As we reported earlier today, Josh Duggar has been sentenced 12 and a half years in federal prison.
Judge Timothy L. Brooks handed down the sentence in an Arkansas federal courthouse at the end of a dramatic hearing that dragged on for much longer than anticipated.
The lengthy proceedings were largely a result of the 22 objections filed by Josh’s lawyers in response to the prosecution’s pre-sentence report.
No cameras or recording devices were allowed in the courtroom, but reporters who were present at the hearing say that the judge became irate over the frivolous nature of some of these objections.
At one point, Josh’s attorneys argued that there was no truth to the prosecution’s claim that Josh knowingly distributed child sexual abuse materials (CSAM).
“With respect to the distribution, the simple fact that a peer-to-peer file sharing was used that alone doesn’t meet the definition of distribution,” Josh’s attorney, Justin Gelfand, told the court.
“There’s no evidence of intentional or knowledgeable distribution or alleged child pornography.”
“There are many facts in this case that there is no evidence of ignorance of distribution," prosecutor Carly Marshall countered, noting that Josh was a “savvy computer user.”
“There is ample evidence to show he factually distributed child pornography," she added.
The judge reportedly became irate with Josh’s legal team when they argued that the CSAM in question did not depict acts of sadism, as claimed in the pre-sentence report.
“The judge stated the pic(s) show child rape being depicted,” a correspondent from The Ashley’s Reality Roundup reported.
“The judge seemed annoyed with Josh’s attorney objecting to the child rape being described as sadism and masochism."
“You’ve said it three times and I don’t understand,” Judge Brooks reportedly said to Josh’s lawyer.
“I don’t understand and I think it’s a frivolous argument.”
In addition to the tense back-and-forth between the two sides, much media attention was paid to the courtroom gallery, where only a few members of the Duggar family came out to show their support for Josh.
According to The Ashley, Anna Duggar was the first to arrive.
She was followed shortly thereafter by Josh’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, who arrived alone.
Josh’s mother, Michelle, steered clear of the courthouse, just as she had throughout the trial.
Josh’s sister Joy-Anna Duggar attended the hearing with her husband, Austin Forsyth.
According to The Ashley’s reporter, Joy-Anna left the courtroom when the prosecution opened a discussion about Josh’s molestation of his sisters, and she was visibly upset upon her return.
Joy-Anna was one of the four Duggar sisters who was victimized by Josh.
She was just 5 years old at the time of the attacks.
The reporter says that Anna Duggar showed “absolutely no emotion" during the hearing, even when the judge mentioned a victim impact statement from one of the young girls who appeared in the CSAM found in Josh’s possession.
Anna and Michelle wrote to the judge on Josh’s behalf and requested a lenient sentence for the sake of his family.
“A number of letters were written in support of you,” the judge said to Josh, noting that the letters “very helpful.”
In the end, however, it appears that the judge was not sufficiently moved by the letters to comply with the prosecution’s request for a sentence of just five years.
Ironically, these letters may have had the opposite of the intended effect.
In documents filed this week, the prosecution argued that letters serve as further evidence that Josh is surrounded by enablers, a fact that makes him much less likely to change his ways after he’s released.
“This past conduct, when viewed alongside the conduct for which he has been convicted, makes clear that Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children, and a willingness to act on that interest," reads the filing.
“There is simply no indication that Duggar will ever take the steps necessary to change this pattern of behavior and address his predilection for minor females,” prosecutors wrote.
Not surprisingly, the Duggars have mostly kept mum on social media in the hours since the verdict was announced.
The only member of the family to address the situation directly was Amy Duggar.
Amy celebrated when Josh was convicted back in December, and it seems she’s equally satisfied by today’s verdict.
"This is the day that smug gross smile slowly fades as he gets locked away," Josh’s cousin tweeted.
We’re sure that, like many others, Amy wishes that Josh would be locked up for even longer.
But at least she can take solace in the fact that he won’t be able to claim any more victims for a very long time.
We’ll have further updates on this story as new information becomes available.