Josh Duggar trial: Defense cross-examines Homeland Security investigator, prosecution calls 3 more witnesses

National

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On Thursday morning, Josh Duggar’s defense team continued their cross-examination of Special Agent Gerald Faulkner that began Tuesday afternoon.

The remainder of the morning session in Arkansas’s Western District Courthouse in Fayetteville saw the prosecution call three more witnesses to the stand before adjourning for lunch at approximately 12 p.m.

Duggar’s lead defense attorney Justin Gelfand asked Special Agent Faulkner several questions about the particulars of items seized and not seized during the search warrant executed at Duggar’s car lot in November 2019.

The subject of questioning ranged from cell phones to the office’s electronic combination lock to a bag containing Duggar’s Macbook Pro laptop computer, which was found in an RV on site.

Special Agent Gerald Faulkner | Artist: John Kushmaul

On Thursday morning, Duggar entered the court, holding hands with his wife, shortly before 8:30 a.m. Special Agent Faulkner was reminded that he was still under oath from the night before, then Gelfand continued his cross-examination.

“Thank you for coming back,” Judge Timothy L. Brooks joked to the jurors as they filed in.

Gelfand’s questioning brought up the six-month interval between the discovery of the case and the execution of the search warrant, then transitioned into focusing on the interview Duggar gave agents the day the warrant was served.

He referred to several pieces of the government’s exhibits of evidence, including photographs and recordings from the interview. Special Agent Faulkner explained that it was “a collective effort” amongst the agents and computer forensics analysts in deciding which items to seize during the search.

The entire list of electronic items seized was introduced and admitted as evidence. Items included both computers, Duggar’s personal iPhone, and a handful of SD cards and thumb drives.

Special Agent Faulkner acknowledged a mistake he made in noting the time of the file transfer in question, miscalculating by “five to six hours.” He explained that time conversions are an “Achilles heel” for him and that he has to perform complicated ones often due to cases in different time zones.

When the line of questioning turned to a Caleb Williams, the prosecution ultimately ended up objecting twice, as Williams was in Illinois in May 2019, and was no part of the investigation until he was brought to the government’s attention by the defense last month.

The judge sustained this objection.

On redirect, Assistant United States Attorney Dustin Roberts quickly fired a series of questions at Special Agent Faulkner, asking if he would have investigated any instances of hacking, remote access, or Caleb Williams being at the car lot. Special Agent Faulkner confirmed that he would have.

Sketch of Western District of Arkansas prosecutor giving opening statements in the Josh Duggar federal child porn trial. | Artist: John Kushmaul

The agent went on to explain that a delay of several months in investigating was not out of the ordinary, as high-priority cases could alter the timetable.

Each side took advantage of asking redirect questions more than once, and eventually, an early morning break was called in order to address an issue with one of the computer monitors in the jury box.

Once that problem was addressed, court went back in session and the prosecution called their third witness, Matthew Waller, a former employee at the car lot that Josh Duggar owned. Waller revealed that he is related to the defendant by marriage, as “his sister-in-law’s sister is Anna Duggar.”

Waller testified he stopped working at the car lot in April 2019 and moved to Minnesota at that time. The payroll checks introduced as evidence reflected the date of April 29, 2019, as Waller’s final day.

Waller added that he did attend a “homeschool conference” with Duggar for about a week in early May of that year.

Travis Story, Story Law Firm | Courtesy Photo

Duggar’s other defense attorney Travis Story spoke for the first time in the trial, handling redirect of Waller for the defense. He asked varied questions, including specifics about the conference as well as Waller’s duties at the car lot.

When asked about other people that frequented the location, Waller said that several people “came by,” including a man named William Mize as well as “a few of the Williams” family members.

Story also inquired about the logistics of the office, including a password to the electronic door lock and the HP computer. Waller stated that an “Intel1988” password sounded “faintly familiar.”

This piece of information brought out a vocal reaction from Roberts on cross-direct.

“You were hiding something from me, weren’t you?” he asked immediately. “You didn’t tell me a word about Intel1988.”

Waller reiterated that it “sounded faintly familiar” but that he “couldn’t place it for sure.”

Roberts continued pressing Waller by asking if the password in question could have been for Duggar’s personal bank account instead of a computer. Waller was unsure.

Visibly frustrated, Roberts concluded his questioning.

Each side took advantage of their opportunities to redirect and ask more questions. Story’s questions led Waller to admit that he had a difficult time telling the difference between the prosecution and defense attorneys.

Roberts raised his voice again in an additional redirect of Waller.

“Were you hiding it from me?” Roberts asked about the password. “You just didn’t think to tell us?”

Finally, Roberts told Waller, “The defense told you information you didn’t otherwise remember.” Waller agreed that this was true.

“We can only beat this horse so many times,” the judge interjected as the two sides continued taking turns asking questions of Waller. Eventually, he was excused.

Witness #4, Jeff Wofford, was then called to the stand.

Wofford identified himself as the Vice President of Technology for Covenant Eyes, a computer software company.

He explained to the jury that Covenant Eyes service “monitors activity on devices,” and reports certain types of activity to an “accountability partner” via email. He added that the main purpose of their paid software is to help “controlling temptations to look at pornography.”

He confirmed that Duggar subscribed to the service in 2013 and that his wife, Anna, was the accountability partner on the account.

Josh Duggar and his wife, Anna walk hand-in-hand into the Federal Courthouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas for his child porn trial.

Wofford described two different aspects of Covenant Eyes: accountability and filtering. Simply put, one records activity and reports it, while another prevents accessing certain types of websites altogether.

He stated that his company’s software “analyzes badness” of various sites on the internet, and that users have a range of categories to self-identify themselves in for purposes of internet access, ranging from “highly mature” to “innocent.”

Duggar’s rating was “mature teen,” which is a setting that Wofford said, “would not want to permit any pornography access.”

It would also detect if a user accessed a Tor browser or used peer-to-peer file sharing.

When asked about the effects of a Linux partition, Wofford stated that it creates “a separate computer on a computer.”

Roberts asked what the Covenant Eyes program would “catch” on a Linux system.

“Nothing,” said Wofford.

Gelfand followed with a few questions about the size of the service’s subscriber base, as well as making it clear that Covenant Eyes only works on specific devices to which it is downloaded. The defense attorney proposed that circumventing the software would be as easy as simply buying a new device.

On redirect, Roberts asked if a user could also download a Linux partition as a way to circumvent the program, and Wofford confirmed that to be the case.

The prosecution then called Special Agent Jeffrey Pryor to the stand, who told the jury that he is a member of Homeland Security investigations as was present during the search warrant’s execution at Duggar’s business.

Pryor has been the lead agent in over 100 times federal cases and was the assistant team leader and search team leader in this instance.

The prosecution questioned him about the procedures that go into a search such as this one and had Pryor walk them through some of the devices seized by confirming each in photos already admitted as evidence.

Special Agent Pryor explained how the team decides which items to take into their custody and explained the process of transferring items into a federal evidence room in Washington, D.C.

The prosecution and defense teams introduced several items into evidence during Special Agent Pryor’s testimony, including the HP computer from the car lot, Duggar’s Macbook Pro laptop, and several SD cards and thumb drives.

KNWA photo of Wholesale Motorcars, Springdale, AR. 11/20/19.

On redirect, the defense asked why Pryor and his team didn’t remove a cell phone found in a drawer inside the office. He explained that it was investigated at the scene.

The same could not be done with Duggar’s iPhone because the agents did not have the password to it and Duggar declined to provide it.

The defense then asked Special Agent Pryor about the details of some placards used to tag evidence at the scene.

The placards are used “to itemize that as a potential piece of evidence.” The agent clarified that the same number was used on two placards because one item, Duggar’s laptop, was found inside another item, a bag with a “Josh” tag attached to it.

After a brief reminder to the jury about their responsibilities not to discuss or investigate the case, court recessed at approximately 12:00 p.m. The jury was told to report back at 1:15 p.m.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories