Teresa Hunt of Bettendorf, IA was arrested 2/1 in a blackmail attempt for allegedly trying to get Discovery Communications to cancel its TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” or pay her $10,000. Hunt is accused of threatening to sell damaging photos to RadarOnline.com of a cast member “in apparently intimate situations with a musician.”
Huntis charged in U.S. District Court in Davenport with one count of extortion. According to an affidavit, Hunt sent a letter in January to Discovery Comm. describing a musician and providing details of an affair with a show cast member. The program is about a family with 19 children.
An Iowa photographer is at the center of a nationwide blackmail plot that appears to have been focused on a cousin of the family featured on the show.
The encounters allegedly involved trips by the cast member to visit the 56-year-old musician as he performed in Branson, MO.
Hunt, in the letter, cites the fact that TV stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar “claim to be so Christian so they keep popping out more babies to keep their ratings up. Meanwhile (two names redacted by the FBI) are doing the nasty behind closed doors.”
An article posted on radaronline.com identifies the woman in the photographs as Amy Duggar, Jim Bob’s cousin and an aspiring singer.
The website quotes Duggar, 25, as denying any impropriety: “It’s totally untrue. He is a longtime 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.”
Radaronline.com said it was contacted by Hunt to purchase the photographs but passed because they “were merely harmless snaps rather than incriminating, damning photos. … Radaronline had no knowledge that the woman was trying to extort TLC.”
Court papers say Hunt, who had included a Perfect Pictures business card in the letter demanding money from TLC, had done work in the past for the Branson musician and was owed money.
Court documents say Hunt was arrested by federal authorities on Wednesday and will remain in the custody of U.S. marshals at least until a hearing scheduled for Friday in Davenport.