FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In addition to calling for an evidentiary hearing during a Nov. 18 pretrial conference, Judge Timothy L. Brooks also outlined trial protocols and jury selection procedures for the upcoming Josh Duggar child porn trial.
The evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29 in the Western District Court of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with jury selection to begin the following day.
The judge covered COVID-19 protocol for the trial, noting that members of the public in the gallery will be required to wear masks, but there will be a mask exception for “trial participants in speaking roles.” He added that testifying witnesses will be encouraged to remove masks while talking but will not be forced to do so.
He continued by making a distinction between the expected courtroom access and availability for jury selection and the trial itself. During jury selection, the judge expects that there will be no room for the public or media in the courtroom.
He stated that an overflow courtroom will be used for those purposes, with audio and possibly video played.
After jury selection, the court anticipates a limit of “between 40 to 48 people” in the gallery due to spacing protocols. If more room is needed, the overflow courtroom will once again be used.
The jury selection process consists of selecting from two panels of 60 members each. The judge noted his hopes that approximately 48 will appear from each panel, with others excused for various reasons.
He anticipated that the lists will be “winnowed” before Nov. 30. A maximum of 48 can be seated for the final selection process, according to the judge.
The final jury will consist of 12 members, with the judge still to decide on whether there will be two or three alternates. He speculated that the selection process could continue into a second day, Dec. 1.
Regarding preliminary instructions to the jury, the judge feels the case is “in pretty good shape,” with the two sides having minor differences. He stated that the goal is to “make things as understandable as possible” and that the government’s version is “much clearer.”
The judge stated that he will blend the two and include jury instructions in an upcoming Statement of the Case.
Judge Brooks scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Nov. 29 that will include the witnesses at issue in opposing court filings. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30 at the Fayetteville District Court.
Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count if convicted.