Kevin Hart's friend charged with trying to extort him
Posted May 3, 2018 9:44 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — A former friend of Kevin Hart has been charged with attempting to extort the comedian by allegedly using a video of the actor that sparked a cheating scandal.
The Los Angeles Distirct Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that Jonathan Todd Jackson, who is also known as Action Jackson, was arrested and charged with one count each of felony attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter.
"Jackson is accused of trying to extort an undisclosed amount of money from Hart between Aug. 25 and Aug. 30, 2017," a statement from the D.A. read. "Jackson allegedly had a videotape of the actor with a woman in Las Vegas and then is accused of trying to sell the recording to numerous celebrity news websites, prosecutors said."
Hart posted a video last September apologizing to his then pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, and his children from his first marriage for "a bad error in judgment."
"I'm at a place in my life where I feel like I have a target on my back," Hart said. "And because of that I should make smart decisions. And recently, I didn't."
Days later, the woman at the center of the scandal, Montia Sabbag, held a press conference with her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Sabbag said she was photographed unknowingly and denied that she had been part of an extortion attempt against Hart.
"I'm not an extortionist, I'm not a stripper," Sabbag said. "I'm a recording artist and an actress and I've not broken any laws. I had nothing to do with these recordings."
Bloom tweeted about the case on Wednesday.
"Montia and I are delighted that the alleged extortionist is being brought to justice," Bloom wrote. "As a crime victim in this case, Montia has fully cooperated with the police since the beginning."
Around the same time the District Attorney's Office announced Jackson had been charged, Hart tweeted in apparent reference to the situation.
"Mind blown...Hurt...at a lost for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment," Hart tweeted. "WOW."
Jackson's lawyer, Chad Lewin, told CNN Thursday that his client pleaded not guilty.
"We're in the process of reviewing all of the evidence," Lewin said. "We look forward to our day in court."
Jackson faces a possible four-year jail sentence if convicted.