Skip to Content

It’s been nearly six months since Josh Duggar was found guilty of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Today, Josh was finally back in the Arkansas federal courthouse where he was convicted, this time to be sentenced for those crimes.

And in news that’s sure to anger many observers who believe that he deserves to be locked up for the rest of his life, the disgraced former reality star received a relatively light sentence of 12.5 years in prison.

This news comes to us via The Ashley’s Reality Roundup, who had reporters in the courtroom as the decision was announced.

Josh Duggar's Post-Conviction Mug Shot

The sentence was handed down following a dramatic day of proceedings, in which Josh’s attorneys lodged 22 objections, several of which centered on the claim that Josh did not "enjoy the presumption of innocence" during his trial.

“There is ample evidence to show he factually distributed child pornography,” prosecutor Carly Marshall countered.

Duggar’s attorneys called for a sentence of just five years, while the prosecution implored the judge to lock Josh up for 20 years, the maximum penalty allowable for his crimes, according to federal guidelines.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

In letters written to the judge on his behalf, Josh’s wife, Anna Duggar, and his mother, Michelle, pleaded for leniency.

The letters made no mention of Josh’s crimes and instead offered bizarre arguments for why, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, Josh is a fundamentally decent man.

Anna begged the judge to reunite Josh with his children and seemed oblivious to his lifetime of predatory behavior toward minors.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Michelle wrote a letter in which she made the claim that Josh’s skills in handling his family’s finances are evidence of his strong moral character.

Ironically, these appeals may have had the opposite of the intended effect.

In documents filed this week, the prosecution argued that letters from his loved ones are proof that Josh is surrounded by enablers, a fact that makes him much less likely to change his ways after he’s released.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

“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.

In their own filing, Josh’s lawyers wrote that their client maintains his innocence and intends to appeal the verdict rendered in December.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

“Duggar accepts that he is before this Court for sentencing and that this Court must impose a penalty,” his attorneys wrote.

“That is justice. But Duggar also appeals to this Court’s discretion to temper that justice with mercy.”

A reporter for The Ashley revealed that the judge seemed to become annoyed by some of the more petty objections from Josh’s lawyers, including claims that the child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) in question did not depict acts of sadism and masochism.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

“The judge stated the pic(s) show child rape being depicted,” the reporter stated.

“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,” the judge said to Josh’s lawyer at one point. “I don’t understand and I think it’s a frivolous argument.” 

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

On Tuesday, Josh’s request for a new trial was denied by Judge Timothy L. Brooks.

"There was significant evidence presented at trial to convince a reasonable jury that Mr. Duggar was physically present during the offense conduct and that he had the mens rea to commit these crimes," the judge wrote in his decision.

Josh’s lawyers say they intend to file a second appeal.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Eventually, their request for a second trial will likely be granted, but an overturned conviction in a case like Josh’s is virtually unheard of.

So while the sentence is much lighter than many would have hoped, at least we can take some small comfort in the fact that for the next 12 and a half years, Josh will not be able to claim any more victims.

Hopefully, those who have already had their lives destroyed by his actions can breathe a little easier today.