Former 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar was arraigned on federal child pornography charges Friday morning in Arkansas. The charges were not read aloud during the hearing, which Duggar attended via Zoom, but Judge Erin L. Wiedemann said Duggar could not live around minors if he were released from custody on bail. Duggar, 33, and his wife Anna Duggar are parents to six children and announced last week they are expecting their seventh.
Duggar was arrested on Thursday and held at the Washington County, Arkansas jail without bail. In Friday's hearing, his attorney Justin Gelfand entered a not guilty plea for Duggar. The former TLC star's bond hearing was scheduled for May 5 and the trial will start on July 6. If Duggar is granted bail on May 5, Wiedemann said that a "third-party custodian" should appear alongside him and Duggar will be interviewed.
"I will also advise you that any proposed third-party custodian it would need to be in a residence, where there are no minors in the home," Wiedemann said, reports Us Weekly. "So, you all would need to be looking for somebody that will ensure compliance with conditions of release and can ensure to the court that there are no minors in the home or that would be visiting unsupervised."
After the hearing, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Arkansas released details behind Duggar's arrest. A federal grand jury indicted him, alleging that he "knowingly" received images of children under 12 years old in 2019, reports USA Today. Duggar was charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. "Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children," the attorney's office said. Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each count if he is convicted. The case will be handled in part by Project Safe Childhood, an initiative the Justice Department started in 2006 to stop sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the U.S.
"Josh Duggar has been charged in a two-count indictment. He has pled not guilty to both charges and we intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly. In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime," Duggar's attorneys, Gelfan, Travis W. Story, and Greg Payne, said in a statement to PEOPLE. "But when you're accused, you can fight back in the courtroom — and that is exactly what Josh intends to do."
Duggar's parents, Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar, also issued a statement showing support for their son. "We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time," the couple said in a joint statement. "The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family."
Duggar is the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle's 19 children. In 2015, he was accused of molesting multiple underage girls when he was 14. This led to the original 19 Kids and Counting being canceled, but it was soon replaced with the still-running Counting On. Duggar also admitted to cheating on Anna and went to rehab in 2015. Duggar and Anna married in 2008 and are parents to six children between the ages of 11 years old and 17 months old. On April 23, Anna announced they are expecting a baby girl.