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Josh Duggar Unlikely to Have Accepted Plea Deal, Case Will Likely Go to Trial

Josh Duggar, 33, is accused of possessing child sexual abuse images. He was arrested in April 2021 after a lengthy investigation by the department of homeland security. For months, family followers assumed he would accept a plea deal. Now, one month before his trial date, that seems unlikely.

Josh Duggar’s trial will begin in November. Duggar, 33, was arrested by federal agents in April 2021 on two child pornography charges. He has been out on bond since May. While Duggar family followers have spent months rehashing the facts of the case, few believed the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would end up going to trial. Instead, they felt certain he would opt for a plea agreement. The deadline for that agreement has come and gone. According to legal experts, the trial will 100% be happening. 

Josh Duggar has not entered a plea agreement into court  

After federal agents arrested Duggar in April 2021, Duggar family followers largely assumed he would take a plea deal to avoid trial. That has not happened, and his chance to do so has come and gone. Emily D. Baker, a lawyer and YouTube content creator, has reported that Duggar has opted not to take an offer. At the very least, no plea agreement was entered into the court’s record. 

A close-up of Josh Duggar speaking. Josh Duggar news continues to make headlines due to his April 2021 arrest.
Josh Duggar speaking at a conference | Kris Connor/Getty Images

A federal judge set the deadline to accept a plea agreement for October 18, but Duggar’s legal team had until October 20 to submit the deal to a judge for consideration. According to Baker, a submission record would have been made available in the case records a few days later if Duggar had entered a plea agreement. It has been nearly a week since that last deadline, and no paperwork has been submitted. It is safe to assume the used car salesman is planning to head to trial. 

Can Josh Duggar still avoid a trial?

While Duggar didn’t accept a plea deal before the deadline, that doesn’t mean his case will necessarily go to a full trial. It simply means it is likely that he and his defense team believe they have a strong enough case to win. He still has an option to change his plea to guilty at any time, even without a plea deal offered by the prosecution. 

Josh Duggar's mugshot after his 2021 arrest. Josh Duggar news continues to dominate the Duggar family headlines. Josh Duggar's trial is set for November 2021
Josh Duggar’s mug shot | Washington County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images

According to Wilson Criminal Defense, a defendant can change their not guilty pleas to guilty at any time before or during the trial. That means Duggar can still plead guilty and still avoid a full trial at any time before a jury hands down a judgment. That could occur at the pre-trial hearing or in the weeks before or after it. Most legal experts don’t believe that is the likely outcome, though. 

When will the trial begin? 

Presuming the 33-year-old former reality TV star doesn’t change his plea suddenly, he will stand trial. The dates for that trial have been set for months, and they don’t appear likely to change. A judge has set his pre-trial conference for November 18. 

Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar smiling and posing together during a convention. Josh Duggar news notes Anna Duggar continues to stick by his side through the arrest.
Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar | Kris Connor/Getty Images

Josh Duggar’s Trial: When Will Anna Duggar’s Instagram Become Active Again?

Assuming Duggar maintains his not guilty plea after the pre-trial conference, his full trial begins on November 30. In the meantime, Duggar’s wife, Anna Duggar, is pregnant with their seventh child. It’s largely assumed that the baby girl will be born before the trial begins, although the couple never actually shared their due date. Their sixth child, Maryella Duggar, turns two on November 27.