Los Angeles — A man was charged Wednesday with trying to extort money from Kevin Hart by threatening to release video he secretly shot of the actor and comedian with a woman in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles County prosecutors charged 41-year-old Jonathan Jackson with attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter.
Jackson, who was arrested on Monday, made a brief appearance on Wednesday afternoon in court, where a judge set his bail at $35k and told him to return on 30 May for arraignment.
Prosecutors allege Jackson tried to extort an undisclosed amount from Hart in August then tried to sell the video to celebrity news websites.
Jackson's lawyer, Chad Lewin, said in court that Jackson is married and has no criminal history. Lewin did not immediately respond to an email seeking further comment.
According to TMZ, Jackson - who goes by J.T. Jackson - is an actor and was a close friend of Hart's for more than 15 years.
He has appeared in the TV series S.W.A.T. as well as films including Naked and Hart's movie Think Like a Man Too.
Shortly after the charges were announced, Hart tweeted: "Mind blown...Hurt...at a lost for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW."
Mind blown...Hurt...at a lost for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) May 2, 2018
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who said in September that someone secretly filmed "bedroom images" of her client Montia Sabbag with Hart in a hotel suite, praised the charges.
"Montia and I are delighted that the alleged extortionist is being brought to justice," Bloom said on Twitter. "As a crime victim in this case, Montia has fully cooperated with the police since the beginning."
I represent Montia Sabag, the woman in the video.— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) May 2, 2018
Montia and I are delighted that the alleged extortionist is being brought to justice. As a crime victim in this case, Montia has fully cooperated with the police since the beginning. https://t.co/1kq3FpWduQ
Without giving details, Hart apologised on Instagram, when word of the video emerged in September, to his wife and kids for what he called a "bad error in judgment."
Emails to Hart's publicists seeking further comment were not immediately returned.