Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty To ’19 Kids’ Extortion Plot
An Iowa woman has pleaded guilty for attempting to extort TLC‘s parent company, threatening to reveal a supposed affair involving a cast member of their popular reality show, “19 Kids and Counting.”
The Associated Press reports that the suspect is Teresa Hunt, 49, a Bettendorf photographer, who entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to one count of extortion during a Davenport federal court hearing. David Treimer, the defense attorney, stated that:
“The government had sufficient evidence to establish her guilt.”
Treimer added that Hunt will most likely face the recommended sentence of 8-12 months in prison. Prosecutors are saying that Hunt contacted Discovery Communications Inc (parent company to TLC) in January with a threat to release pictures of a cast member of “19 Kids and Counting” that shows them in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 56-year old singer, unless the network either paid her $10,000 or canceled the show.
The show, which centers around Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, as well as their 19 children, is still going strong, despite the claim. after the extortion attempt, Discovery immediately contacted the FBI, who had an agent pose as a network representative. That agent contacted Hunt, who told them to wire her $10,000, and agreed to share three photographs of the unnamed couple, claiming to have more.
Hunt was then arrested in February and charged with extortion. While investigators have not released the cast member’s identity, Amy Duggar, a cousin and 25-year-old aspiring singer, as well as Branson singer James Garrett, stated that they were the plot’s targets, which they found laughable.
According to The Washington Post, Amy Duggar, who lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, stated that she has forgiven Hunt for the extortion attempt, and hopes that she “gets the help she needs.” Duggar also stated:
“I’m saddened for her that she’s going to be in prison and will be sentenced. But at the same time, justice is to be served and I think it’s necessary for her. I have no hard feelings at all. I laughed about all of this. There’s no truth behind it at all.”
Garrett stated that the woman accused of extortion, Teresa Hunt, worked for him as a personal photographer for two years. He explained that the two had a falling out after she claimed he owed her $2,500 after he returned from a vacation attempt. He was left shaken after the extortion plot. Garrett stated:
“I don’t know why she did it but I’m glad that she took responsibility for it today. I hope she gets the help she needs. Clearly what she did was not the thinking of a rational person.”
What do you think of Teresa Hunt’s attempt to extort TLC over their “19 Kids and Counting” reality show?