Josh Duggar‘s internet network was so insecure someone could have hijacked his computer to remotely watch child porn in a so-called ‘hit and run attack’, a court heard.
Michele Bush, a computer forensics expert giving evidence for the defense, told jurors today that the internet at Wholesale Motorcars was on a low security setting called ‘universal plug and play’.
The setup allowed multiple devices to seamlessly establish internet connections but it also left it ‘extremely vulnerable’ to what she described as a ‘hit and run’ attack.
She described a scenario whereby a remote user, or hacker, could potentially log on, do something nefarious, then quickly log off again without the account holder ever knowing.
Likening Duggar’s network to a house, she said: ‘All of its doors are unlocked. Anyone can come in and they can do what they want.’
Josh Duggar, 33, and wife Anna arrive at court Tuesday for day five of proceedings in his child porn trial in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Computer forensics expert and defense witness Michele Bush testified that the internet at Josh Duggar’s car dealership was on a low security setting which made it vulnerable to hackers
Duggar family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar was seen arriving at his son’s trial on Tuesday morning
Investigators traced child porn images to the IP address to Duggar’s now-defunct used car dealership, Wholesale Motorcars, in Springdale, and seized his office HP desktop and iPhone in April
Bush disagreed with the government’s case that a desktop could not be rebooted remotely.
She also told jurors she felt it was a ‘very viable possibility’ that someone had accessed the Linux side of the computer remotely to download porn because it had been watched in streaming mode then quickly deleted.
However, without having the internet router – which the trial has heard the FBI never seized – and a definite list of machines that linked to it, she said it was impossible to say for certain who streamed the vile material and where they did so.
‘If you had had the router would it answer those questions,’ she was asked by defense attorney Justin Gelfand.
Bush replied: ‘It would certainly give me a lot more clarity.
Jim Bob Duggar attended proceedings Tuesday, the first time he has been present at the John Paul Hammerschmidt courthouse since his eldest son’s trial began a week ago.
Jim Bob was subpoenaed to give evidence at a pre-trial hearing but was ditched as a possible witness after insisting on the stand that he could barely remember anything about the molestation scandal that led to his family’s reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, being canceled in 2015.
The Duggar patriarch kept a low profile Tuesday, ducking behind a concrete pillar when a photographer tried to take his photo outside the federal court building in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
He quietly slipped into the trial room and sat in the public gallery, several rows behind the rest of his family and Josh’s wife Anna, nodding but not responding when asked by reporters how he was doing.
With Jim Bob looking on, Bush told jurors she disagreed with the FBI’s insistence that they were able to ‘successfully download’ a complete zip folder of child pornography from Josh Duggar’s work computer, insisting that only 13 of 66 ‘pieces’ had been procured by law enforcement.
She also disputed whether the HP’s user had watched or even downloaded much of the vile material reeled off by prosecutors, pointing out that while she found torrent files for videos including Daisy’s Destruction and Play Tot Sweetie, those did not contain porn.
Likening torrent files to a ‘library index card’, Bush said they merely contained the relevant data to potentially help a program like uTorrent fetch the actual material over the dark web.
Pushed to explain what evidence she had to back up her remote hacker theory, Bush said it was impossible to prove either way without the router or basic system logs that had been overwritten long before the government provided her with a forensic copy of the HP desktop.
Prosecution witness Bobye Holt (left), a mother-of-11, said her husband Jim (left) and Duggar’s father Jim Bob (right) had been best friends since school and that the two families were very close
Duggar family friend Bobye Holt (right) and her husband Jim Holt, a former Arkansas state senator, recalled being called over to the Duggar household for an ’emergency meeting’ about Josh on March 30, 2003, in emotional testimony Monday
‘The information to make that conclusion was not available to me. It does not exist,’ she told the court. But she added: ‘It seems very probable because of the combination of everything.’
Bush was further asked about an photo retrieved from a back-up copy of Duggar’s old iPhone 8 that appeared to be taken by someone sat at the HP computer on May 14, 2019 the day cops remotely detected child porn on it.
The camera was aimed at the screen as it played a YouTube video about repairing a camshaft. Prosecutors allege that a faint reflection of a baseball cap saying ‘Wholesale Motors’ can be seen in the monitor.
Bobye Holt broke down Monday as she took the witness stand and described how Duggar confessed to molesting his sisters in 2003
That same day they retrieved another image of Duggar taking a selfie while shopping with his wife and wearing a similar Wholesale Motorcars hat.
Asked if that placed Duggar behind the HP computer when the child porn was harvested rather than some shadowy Russian hacker, Bush replied: ‘It’s a company hat. I can’t say if it’s Mr Duggar.’
Bush’s evidence was followed by brief testimony from Daniel Wilcox, a former police detective who assisted in the FBI’s November 2019 raid on Wholesale Motorcars.
Wilcox told jurors he was tasked with posing as a customer to go onto the lot in advance to establish Duggar was on site.
He said he had no other involvement in the investigation after that point. The defense rested its case late Tuesday after calling just the two witnesses.
On Monday, a lifelong ‘best friend’ of the Duggar family broke down in court as she described how Josh Duggar confessed in his teens to molesting four of his sisters during bible time and while they slept.
Bobye Holt told the disgraced reality star’s child pornography trial how Jim Bob Duggar asked her and her husband Jim Holt, a former Arkansas state senator, to urgently come over to their house on March 30, 2003.
Holt, a mother-of-11, said Jim and Jimbob had been best friends since school and the two families were ‘very best friends’ who would spend every day together.
When they convened for their ’emergency’ meeting, Holt’s eldest daughter was going on chaperoned dates with Josh Duggar and the two families hoped they would eventually marry.
‘They took us to their bedroom and Josh was sitting on the floor,’ she told a federal courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas, her voice trembling.
Duggar, who was 15 at the time, proceeded to tell the stunned Holts that he had sexually assaulted one of his sisters, referred to only as Jane Doe 4, earlier that day.
‘He had Jane Doe 4 on his lap during bible time and he touched her private area, her breast area and her bottom area,’ said Holt, adding that the sister in question was five when the abuse happened.
‘He ended up confessing that, on and off, since he was 12 years old, he would touch Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3.
‘He said he touched their breast area, their private area, on top of their clothes, sometimes under, when they were sleeping.’
Holt told jurors that her daughter’s courtship with Josh Duggar was immediately ‘called off’ and Josh was taken by her husband and Jim Bob to a ‘facility for troubled youth.’
The two families remained inseparable, however, and in early 2005 Josh would spend evenings with the couple ‘confessing’ his sins and talking over issues that were on his mind.
This included revisiting and elaborating on the 2003 molestation incident with Jane Doe 4, Holt told the court.
Four of Josh’s sisters, Jessa, Jinger, Jill, and Jana Duggar in 2014. Jurors heard testimony Monday from a longtime family friend who described how Josh confessed to molesting his sisters when they were sleeping
The Duggar family in 2014. Their show, 19 Kids & Counting, ran from 2008 until 2015
The couple were seen leaving the courthouse after the trial adjourned Monday in Fayetteville, Arkansas
‘He told me that he actually went under her pantaloons and under her panties and touched her vagina,’ she said.
Holt said she asked Duggar if he had merely touched his sister’s privates or whether he had penetrated her with his fingers.
‘He said both,’ she recalled, struggling to continue as she fought tears.
Duggar spent seven days in jail after his April 29 arrest before being fitted with an ankle monitor and bailed into home detention
Holt told the court she had been approached multiple times and even offered money over the years to talk about the abuse scandal but had refused on every occasion before the prosecution asked for her cooperation.
‘I still love Josh,’ she insisted, concluding her evidence as Duggar, 33, in a black suit, striped tie and black facemask, looked on without showing any flicker of emotion.
His wife Anna was sat a few yards away in the public gallery where she was hugged afterwards by his sister Jessa and other Duggar family members including their sibling Joy-Anna Forsyth.
Defense lawyers had tried to prevent Holt from giving testimony on the basis of ‘clergy privilege’, arguing that she and her husband were church leaders and the confession came during prayer and ‘priestly consolation and guidance’.
However Holt insisted she was not a church elder and that the church had nothing to do with her discussions with Duggar.
Judge Timothy Brooks ruled in the prosecution’s favor, noting that the youngsters who appeared in Duggar’s alleged trove of child porn were roughly the same age as the victims of his ‘hands-on child molestation offenses’.
Jessa and other Duggar family members including sibling Joy-Anna Forsyth, Jason (blue jacket) and James Duggar (plaid shirt) were seen arriving at court Monday
Joy-Anna is seen arriving with husband Austin for Monday’s proceedings at her brother Josh’s child porn trial in Fayetteville
Jill Duggar’s husband Derick Dillard (pictured) was in the courtroom observing last week, however, she is yet to make an appearance
Bobye Holt’s emotional testimony followed her husband Jim’s account of how he overheard Duggar asking in 2010 how to set up something on a computer called a Linux partition.
Holt said Duggar and his friend, Clinton Branham, were both volunteers on his failed US Senate campaign and the trio had spoken at a political convention.
A former intelligence worker in the National Security Agency, Holt said all three were briefly discussing using a computer system that wasn’t a ‘slave to DOS’, the typical disk operating system on a PC.
Branham said he should consider installing a Linux setup, which essentially creates a parallel second desktop within the same computer.
‘[Branham] said if you want to try it out you could set up a partition but I wasn’t interested in that,’ Holt told the court. ‘Joshua asked ‘how would I set that up?’
Asked to repeat exactly what Duggar had said, Holt told jurors: ‘How do I set this up. Tell me more about the Linux partition.’
Branham, now a cybersecurity expert for Walmart, recalled the same conversation and said it was prompted by a discussion about flaws and vulnerabilities within Covenant Eyes, an internet ‘accountability’ program that warns your family or spouse if you’re looking at porn.
Branham, who said he has known Josh Duggar for 20 years, said both he and Duggar’s families used the software but a Linux partition would get around it.
He also called Duggar his family’s ‘tech guy’ and described him as a ‘power user’ – someone who is well schooled in computers and knows a lot more than the typical person.
Famous for appearing in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, Duggar was charged in April with two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography.
He has pleaded not guilty but faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count if convicted.
Duggar (pictured after his release from jail in May) allegedly asked federal agents without knowing anything about the nature of the probe: ‘Has someone downloaded child pornography?’
Prosecutors say Duggar downloaded and viewed images and video of prepubescent girls being ‘abused, violated and exploited’ between May 14 and 16, 2019.
The sickening cache is said to have included files names such as ‘Daisy’s Destruction’, ‘Playtoy Sweetie’ and ‘Pedo Mom’.
This trial has heard how the fallen TV star allegedly did so with encrypted ‘peer-to-peer’ uTorrent software, which allows users to anonymously search and download files from one another over the dark web.
In May 2019, Detective Amber Kalmer of the Little Rock Police Department used a specialist police program to search for known child porn and made several ‘digital handshakes’ with an IP address in northwest Arkansas.
Kalmer was able to download video footage of girls aged seven and nine being raped by an adult male as well as a cache of 65 images of a young girl of seven or eight being abused and placed in a dog kennel.
The detective tipped off Federal investigators who traced the IP address to Duggar’s used car dealership, Wholesale Motorcars, in Springdale, and seized his office HP desktop, iPhone and MacBook.
After volunteering to speak with Federal agents during the ensuing raid – but without knowing anything about the nature of the probe – Duggar allegedly asked them: ‘Has someone downloaded child pornography?’
When forensic computers studied the HP they found someone had installed the Linux partition that could only be accessed by rebooting the computer and hitting F9.
The couple, pictured with six of their seven young children, subscribed to a service in 2013 called Covenant Eyes that monitors adult internet use and would report ‘objectionable material’ to wife Anna
Prosecutors say the vile stash of porn was found behind that partition, which could only be accessed by the password intel1988 – the same password Duggar used for his internet banking and the Duggar family Instagram and Twitter accounts.
They also compared texts and images of cars found on the dad-of-seven’s Apple devices to show he was at the lot at the precise time the porn was viewed.
Duggar’s lawyers have argued that a handful of employees could have accessed the HP computer or even operated the computer remotely to stream porn without anyone noticing.
They also claim that their client is home-schooled and a ‘Mac guy’ who lacked the sophisticated IT skills to install a Linux partition.
Duggar is the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s nine daughters and ten sons featured on 19 Kids and Counting, which documented the devout Baptist family’s life in Tontitown, Arkansas.
TLC pulled the long-running reality series after seven years in 2015 over revelations from a historic 2006 police report that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter.
Duggar’s parents said he confessed to the fondling and apologized. He also apologized for his pornography addiction and for cheating on Anna, who has attended court every day of the trial.