A felony extortion charge against actor/comedian Kevin Hart’s former friend, actor J.T. Jackson, was dropped Friday, though Jackson still faces felony charges for other crimes.
The L.A. District Attorney’s office filed a motion today to dismiss the first count (extortion by threatening letter). Prosecutors did not have evidence to convict Jackson with the criminal charge, a representative from the office tells TheWrap.
The DA filing stated that upon reviewing the evidence, it did not fit the bill for extortion.
According to the DA, they investigated a “declaration” — or tip — that called into question the statement given to them as the extortionist threat made to Hart. The threats were regarding a sex tape featuring Hart and a woman named Montia Sabbag in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2017.
The threat, which was worded “give me $5 million or I’m releasing the video,” was posted in the public comments on an Instagram post where the comedian apologized to his family for his infidelities. Since it was a comment, it did not count as a direct message to Hart. This came after Hart publicly admitted he had the affair with Sabbag. Because there was no apparent extortion involved, the D.A. will have these charges dismissed.
Jackson was arrested and charged with extortion in May of 2018.
Prosecutors corroborated the new evidence with a “declaration,” finding that it “materially undermines the People’s theory on Count One [extortion] which requires proof of specific intent.”
Jackson’s attorney, Jacob Glucksman, had argued since the onset of the case that his client did not extort Kevin Hart.
Prosecutors say they are still going after Jackson for other crimes, including two counts of unauthorized use of personal identifying information, as well as attempted concealing and selling stolen property. All three of these counts are felonies.
On Wednesday, a $60 million lawsuit filed against Hart by Sabbag in federal court in Los Angeles in connection with the sex tape was also dismissed, according to court documents.
Sabbag filed the suit earlier this month, stating that Hart and several other defendants allowed a sexual encounter with Hart in a Las Vegas hotel room to be filmed without her knowledge or consent.
In the original complaint, Sabbag, who appeared in a sex tape that sparked the 2017 extortion case, accused Hart of charges including invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress and negligence in the suit.
A judge, however, threw out the suit over technical legal issues.