Amy Duggar, the “19 Kids and Counting” cast member at the center of a Bettendorf woman’s extortion plot, said Thursday she has “no hard feelings.”

Duggar spoke to the Quad-City Times in a telephone interview shortly after Teresa Hunt was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Davenport, to four months of home confinement.

“I never met the lady, and I had nothing to do with this,” Duggar said.

Hunt, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of extortion in July. She threatened to release what she claimed were damaging, intimate photos of a “19 Kids and Counting” cast member with a much older man if Discovery didn’t pay her $10,000. The cast member turned out to be Amy Duggar, the 25-year-old niece of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

Hunt emerged from the courthouse Thursday and publicly apologized to the Duggar family.

“I’m really sorry for what I did to Amy Duggar,” Hunt said, walking with crutches after ankle surgery from a fall off a horse.

Duggar said she forgives Hunt and still finds the case “funny” even 10 months after news of it broke.

“I laughed then. I still find it funny,” Duggar said. “It’s also sad someone would torment another and get money that way.”

U.S. District Chief Judge James Gritzner sentenced Hunt to one year of supervised release that includes the home confinement and other requirements, such as a mental health evaluation. She’s also not allowed any contact with the victims.

Prosecutor John Keller said he was most troubled by Hunt’s “compulsive behavior.”

In court, Hunt called her actions senseless and selfish, and she said that at the time of her plot, she was under the influence of a cough syrup. She claimed a cough suppressant in the product has been linked to “temporary psychosis,” although she said that’s no excuse for what she did.

She also accused a Branson, Mo., entertainer of refusing to pay her for professional photography work she did for him. His refusal to pay her angered her, and that’s why she tried to extort the Duggar family, she said.

That entertainer, 57-year-old James Garrett, denied Thursday he owed Hunt anything.

“I don’t owe her a dime,” Garrett said in a telephone interview from Branson. “If I did, I would have paid her a long time ago.”

Garrett hired Hunt to take publicity photos for him, he said, adding they worked together for two years.

He also said he always paid Hunt’s hotel rooms and food during her stays in Branson, which is 500 miles southwest of the Quad-Cities.

Garrett, whose name never was mentioned in court records, has identified himself as the man Hunt claimed was having an affair with Amy Duggar, an accusation he and Duggar have repeatedly denied. He said Duggar is a friend and has performed with him on stage. He has thought the reason behind Hunt’s extortion plot was her jealousy of his relationship with Duggar.

After her sentencing, Hunt said she’s still angry with Garrett over money, although she doesn’t expect to be paid what she claimed was $2,000 for her photography work. She declined to answer why she went after the Duggar family.

“I want to wash this from my life and forget this ever happened,” Hunt said.


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Bettendorf woman sentenced in extortion of reality TV family 

A federal judge sentenced a Bettendorf woman to four months of home confinement after she admitted to extorting a reality TV family.

Teresa Hunt was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court, Davenport, to one year of supervised release that includes the home confinement and other requirements.

Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of extortion in July. She threatened to release what she claimed were damaging, intimate photos of a “19 Kids and Counting” cast member with a much older man if Discovery didn’t pay her $10,000. The cast member turned out to be Amy Duggar, the 25-year-old niece of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

Hunt told the judge that Amy Duggar is an innocent party in this case.

“I’m so very sorry for what I did to Amy Duggar,” Hunt said.

Hunt also called her actions senseless and selfish, but she accused a Branson, Mo., entertainer of refusing to pay her for professional photography work she did for him. His refusal to pay her angered her and led her to try to extort the Duggar family, she said.

The entertainer has been identified as James Garrett.

Hunt appeared in court using crutches, and her lawyer said she recently had ankle surgery.

Prosecutors said they were most troubled by Hunt’s “compulsive behavior.” The judge ordered Hunt to undergo a mental health evaluation as part of her sentence.

She also is not allowed to have contact with the victims.