A former friend of Kevin Hart was charged Wednesday with trying to extort the actor using a “surreptitiously recorded” video of Hart with a woman in Las Vegas, prosecutors said.
Jonathan Todd Jackson — known as Action Jackson — was charged with attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Jackson, 41, has appeared in a small role in one of Hart’s movies. Greg Risling, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, told the Los Angeles Times that the two men were once friends. Jackson now faces up to four years in county jail if convicted.
“Jackson is accused of trying to extort an undisclosed amount of money from Hart between Aug. 25 and Aug. 30, 2017,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.”
In a tweet that appeared to reference the charges, Hart — who has been promoting his new comedy tour — said he was “hurt” and “at a lost for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment.”
Last year, Hart admitted to cheating on his wife, Eniko Parrish. He apologized to her and his children in an Instagram video in September, alluding to the extortion attempt.
“I made a bad error in judgment and put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did,” he said in the video. “At the end of the day, man, I just simply got to do better. But I’m not going to also allow a person to have financial gain off of my mistakes and in this particular situation, that’s what was attempted. I said I’d rather fess up to my mistakes.”