Kevin Hart’s Former Boyfriend Files $12 Million Lawsuit in Sex Tape Saga

When Kevin Hart took to Instagram three years ago to discuss his bizarre 2017 sex tape scandal and the related racketeering charges that were filed and eventually dropped against his friend Jonathan “JT” Jackson, the superstar comedian said he was glad to be “moving on” from that chapter in his life.

The precise words Hart used to deliver that seemingly spontaneous message to his millions of followers are the subject of a new $12 million breach of contract lawsuit filed by Jackson in Los Angeles.

In his new 23-page complaint filed on Wednesday and by Rolling stoneJackson says Hart’s social media post, shared on Oct. 27, 2021, was far from spontaneous. Instead, it was the subject of a “carefully negotiated” settlement agreement signed by the parties nearly three months earlier, Jackson reveals. According to the lawsuit, Hart was contractually obligated to use “specific language” that would “publicly exonerate” Jackson, a professional bowler and actor who had a small role in Hart’s 2014 film. Think like a man tooHart should note not only that the criminal charges against Jackson had been dropped, but also that Jackson had been completely cleared of any involvement in any extortion plot and that the scandal had cost Hart “a valuable friendship.”

For example, Jackson claims that Hart explicitly agreed to the charges, saying, “I’ve lost someone close to me who I still love very much, or who I love very much, and I’m proud to say that all charges against JT Jackson have been dropped, that he’s innocent and had nothing to do with it.” According to Jackson, 47, Hart “blatantly violated” their agreement.

In his Instagram video, Hart instead said, “JT Jackson was recently exonerated and those charges against him were dropped, and I can finally talk about what I once couldn’t.” Hart noted that their friendship was “lost,” but the statement seemed neutral. “It’s over and I’m glad it’s over,” he said of the saga. Hart did not include the line that Jackson “had nothing to do with it.”

“The language of Hart’s statement, carefully negotiated and detailed in the contract, was critical to repairing and remediating the serious damage to Plaintiff’s reputation caused by the unsubstantiated racketeering allegations that Hart aggressively promoted and publicized,” Jackson’s new lawsuit says. The statement Hart ultimately gave, the complaint says, “dilutes this intent by framing the acquittal more as a conclusion to a chapter in Hart’s own life than as a clear and unequivocal exoneration of Plaintiff.”

A spokesman for Hart, 45, did not immediately respond to Rolling stone‘s request for comment.

The new lawsuit, filed by Jackson attorney Daniel L. Reback, marks the latest twist in a controversy that began when Hart and Jackson went to Las Vegas together in August 2017. A few weeks later, according to court documents in a related case, Hart’s then-pregnant wife, Eniko Parrish, allegedly received an anonymous message that read, “Unfortunately, your husband Kevin Hart is cheating on you.” The message allegedly contained a Dropbox link to an edited video showing Hart engaged in an intimate act with a woman in his private suite at the Cosmopolitan hotel. That evening, Hart posted an Instagram video apologizing to his wife and family, admitting that he had made a “huge error in judgment” and vowing “not to let anyone profit financially from my mistakes.” The post prompted someone with the Instagram handle Misterjood to leave a public comment saying, “Give me $5 million or I’ll publish the video. There’s no need to make this public. You had your chance.”

Hours later, on September 17, 2017, the now-defunct website published the secretly recorded video footage. Within days, TMZ reported that the FBI was investigating a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme against Hart. That same week, model Montia Sabbag held a press conference with her then-attorney, Lisa Bloom, to confirm that she was the woman in the video. She pleaded not guilty and said she had nothing to do with the recording or any alleged extortion. (Sabbag would later file a $60 million lawsuit against Jackson and Hart, alleging that the men conspired to record and distribute the footage in order to exploit Hart’s Irresponsible tour. A judge dismissed Sabbag’s civil claims against Jackson in August 2022, citing Sabbag’s lack of “diligence,” specifically her failure to obtain Jackson’s case files from prosecutors, who had by then dropped their two extortion claims. Sabbag’s remaining claims against Hart would be dismissed in June 2023 when Sabbag’s attorney failed to appear at a pre-trial final status conference.)

According to Jackson’s new lawsuit, Hart and his attorneys played an integral role in the events that led to his arrest. Jackson alleges that Hart’s camp misled investigators about key evidence shortly before more than a dozen armed police officers kicked down his door at gunpoint and stormed his home on Jan. 23, 2018. In a separate lawsuit filed against members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last December, Jackson alleges that the search warrant for the raid was based on an earlier warrant that described Mister Jew’s $5 million demand as the alleged extortion attempt. In the warrant, investigators described the demand as a “private message” sent before Hart posted his apology video.

Ultimately, the DA investigator who had applied for the search warrant admitted that the Mister Jew post was a public comment, not a private message, and that it had been posted by someone in response to Hart’s public apology video. It was never linked to Jackson. Following this revelation, prosecutors dropped one of the two criminal racketeering charges. They eventually dropped the entire case.

Jackson’s December lawsuit against DA officials alleges they violated his civil rights, fabricated evidence and engaged in malicious prosecution. The officials responded in March with a motion to dismiss the action, claiming they are entitled to immunity. They also reaffirmed their claim that electronics seized from Jackson during the 2018 raid showed Jackson’s “possession of the sex tape and emails that were [Jackson] trying to sell the tape to media before it became public.”

According to previous court records cited in the motion to dismiss, a media outlet received an email from someone attempting to sell the video before it was released. The outlet allegedly shared the email with Hart’s team, and in response, Hart’s attorney had someone contact the anonymous seller posing as a sex tape broker eager to purchase the footage. Subsequent negotiations ultimately fell through. Prosecutors alleged that the email address contacted by Hart’s fake broker pointed back to Jackson’s IP address.

For his part, Jackson is adamant that he never committed a crime, did not sell the video, and never extorted anyone. “Despite the allegations and the supposed IP address connection, the facts are that I was not arrested on the day of the raid on January 23, 2018. I was not arrested until April 30, 2018, for a completely unrelated incident involving an alleged extortion email sent to Kevin Hart on April 27, 2018. This delay in arrest casts doubt on the strength and reliability of the evidence initially claimed by the DA’s office, especially when IP addresses were associated,” Jackson said in an email sent to Rolling stone.

Jackson’s new lawsuit alleges that “false allegations” were a driving force behind his eventual arrest. Specifically, he alleges that Hart “claimed” to have received an email on April 27, 2018, from someone demanding 20 bitcoins to prevent the release of more sex tape images. The alleged email — sent seven months after the scandal broke — was reported to prosecutors and cited by an investigator for the district attorney’s office as the basis for Jackson’s arrest. Jackson alleges in his new lawsuit that the copy of the email eventually shared with prosecutors indicates it was “fabricated.” He claims that analysis by two experts determined it was created using Microsoft Word on May 17, 2019, more than a year after the alleged extortion attempt.

In his complaint, Jackson says his career and reputation suffered serious harm following the failed prosecution. He says more harm was done by statements made in Hart’s docuseries “Don’t F**K This Up,” a six-episode reality show about Hart’s life that premiered on Netflix in December 2019. In the series, which is still streaming, Hart reflects on the sex tape scandal and the end of his friendship with Jackson. He said it was “hard to talk about” the incident and lamented the loss of “someone you really trust, love. It’s painful.”

The series premiered after all charges against Jackson were dropped, but Hart’s longtime friend and fellow comedian Will “Spank” Horton still appears onscreen, recapping the prosecutors’ failed theory of the case: “I think he set up a camera in the room, filmed it, came home, edited it, and then sent him an email or ransom demand like, ‘Look, I’ll release this video if you don’t pay me.’ I think it was like $10 million or something,” Horton says. (After the series premiered, Jackson began preparing to potentially file a defamation lawsuit against Hart, leading to the 2021 settlement that is now at the center of Jackson’s breach of contract claim.)

Jackson says the now-dropped criminal charges and the controversial Netflix series, which was reportedly viewed by millions of people, have caused lasting harm to his career and well-being. “The continued availability of this content continues to perpetuate the false narrative, causing ongoing harm to Plaintiff’s professional and personal life,” the lawsuit says. Jackson, a Navy veteran, alleges the fallout has “exacerbated” his service-related PTSD and caused “significant mental health issues.”


Jackson is suing Hart and his Hartbeat Productions for breach of contract, fraud and intentional emotional distress. He is asking for at least $12 million in actual damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial.

“This entire ordeal has caused deep emotional distress and significant professional setbacks for both my wife and me. It is extremely unfortunate that someone I considered my brother, my pots and pans for 16 years, is now on opposing sides,” Jackson said in a statement released to the public. Rolling stone. “Despite everything, I still wish him the best. But it’s been three years since Kevin promised to clear my name, but it didn’t work. So here we are. With this lawsuit, I want to restore my reputation, be accountable, and ensure that this kind of injustice doesn’t happen to others.”

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