An Iowa woman has been arrested in a blackmail plot for allegedly trying to get Discovery Communications Inc. to cancel the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting” or pay her $10,000.I have no reason to believe that this woman has any actual dirt on the Duggars, but it'll be interesting if the Duggars experience some Jon & Kate-like fall out from these accusations. The Duggars have appeared recently on this blog when they traveled from Arkansas to Iowa to caucus for Rick Santorum and later when Duggar Dad Jim Bob Dugger came out against trans-inclusive Girl Scouts.
The woman is accused of threatening to release photos of a cast member in “apparently intimate situations” to a magazine...
According to an affidavit, Hunt sent a letter in January to the parent company of TLC describing a musician and providing details of an affair with a show cast member. The program is about a family with 19 children.
Edited to Add: I should have checked the Iowa City Press-Citizen before posting this piece. It has even more information about this case:
The letter was sent in January to the parent company of LTC describing Hunt's professional relationship with a 56-year-old musician who performs in Branson, Mo., and providing details of an affair with an unspecified female cast member, according to an affidavit in U.S. District Court in Davenport...That seems to narrow down the list a bit. Time will tell...
In the letter, Hunt allegedly said that the Duggars "claim to be so Christian so they keep popping out more babies to keep their ratings up."
In the affidavit, an FBI undercover agent called Hunt, saying he represented Discovery and was following up on her letter. She said she was a photographer and was in possession of damaging pictures.
Hunt then sent an email with three pictures attached to the undercover agent, according to the affidavit.
"I have more buried in a box at my parent's home, but it will take some time to go through the boxes to find them. I'm attaching what I currently have on my computer. I hope these are enough," the email said.
In the email allegedly from Hunt, she... has 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."
Updated on 02/07/11: Here comes the rest of the story. The accused Duggar is Amy Duggar, "an aspiring country singer and the 25-year-old niece of Jim Bob Duggar". I've watched a couple episodes of the show, so I have no clue who most of the Duggars are, but she denies that there's any truth to the rumors that she was photographed with a 56-year-old male musician in "apparently intimate situations":
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.The Washington Post reports that Radar was apparently offered to purchase the incriminating photos, but declined. Additionally, they describe the photos as "merely harmless snaps rather than incriminating."
Updated on 07/25/12: It took a while, but we finally got some resolution in this case. Teresa Hunt of Bettendorf, IA, pled guilty earlier today to one count of extortion related to this case. Hunt had contacted Discovery Communication, Inc., claiming to have photographic proof showing one of the "19 Kids and Counting" reality TV personalities -- Duggar cousin and aspiring country music singer Amy Duggar -- having a sexual affair with a longtime family friend. She wanted Discovery to either cancel the Duggar reality TV show or pay her $10,000, or else she would lead the pics to a tabloid.
Assuming she actually had proof of the tryst -- and I'm not saying she does -- Hunt would have been wiser to just sell the pictures to the tabloids and made some money that way. Not that it's right either way, but the extortion scheme was just stupid.
Hunt's sentencing hearing has been scheduled for November 9, 2012.