'19 Kids and Counting': Woman arrested in alleged extortion plot
An Iowa woman who said she had pictures of a Duggar family member in "intimate situations" with an older man has found herself in a situation of her own: Teresa Hunt is facing federal extortion charges after allegedly trying to convert the photos into a $10,000 payday, or a "19 Kids and Counting" cancellation.
Cousin Amy Duggar, the family member targeted by Hunt, said the accusations of inappropriate behavior couldn't be further from the truth.
Hunt allegedly sent Discovery Communications, TLC's parent company, a typed letter, handwritten note and business card with contact information back on Jan. 4. In the packet, Hunt claimed she had pictures of a female cast member in "intimate situations" with a 56-year-old musician and threatened to go public with the dish, according to an affidavit filed by an undercover FBI agent who'd billed himself to Hunt as a rep for Discovery.
The note read, in part, "You new to get ... off of '19 and Counting.' Cancel that show or pay me off from exposing this story to the National Magazines," according to Iowa's Quad-City Times, which first reported the news.
"It's totally untrue," Amy Duggar said in a statement obtained by the Ministry. The aforementioned musician "is a long time family friend who has always been supportive of my music career. He's a good Christian and it's upsetting that his generosity has been exploited like this."
Also on the side of Team Duggar was the gossip site Radar Online. The photos "were merely harmless snaps rather than incriminating, damning photos," said the site, which explained Hunt had tried to sell it the images. Radar reviewed the pics but didn't buy them, and wasn't aware of any attempt to extort TLC, the site said Friday.
After the agent contacted Hunt on Jan. 20, saying he was following up on the letter, Hunt sent back an email with three pictures attached as proof, demanding that the money be wired to her account, the affidavit said.
In the email, she allegedly said she didn't like the musician, that he owed her money, that she was willing to settle for $10,000 and that she had no reason to hurt the cast member "except that's she's on a reality show and pretends to be a right-wing Christian and she's sleeping with a 56 year old man."
Hunt, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was arrested Wednesday. A rep for TLC had no comment Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: With other supporters of Sen. Rick Santorum, members of the Duggar family watch the results of the Iowa caucuses come in on Jan. 3. Credit: Andrew Burton / Getty Images