The friend who allegedly tried to extort Kevin Hart over his infamous sex tape in 2017 claims he did nothing wrong in the legal sense.
Kevin's now-former friend Jonathan Jackson says he never contacted the actor about the sex tape and never threatened him, TMZ reported. Rather, Jonathan claims he was contacted by a man who said he was a "Hollywood sex tape broker" and was offered $10,000 for the video. Jonathan says he began negotiating for a higher price, but concedes that a deal wasn't struck.
Interestingly enough, Jonathan, who facing two felony counts for attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter, thinks Kevin's team was in on it from the beginning, claiming the sex tape broker was working on Hart's behalf to obtain the video and keep it under wraps. He adds that Kevin "likely felt embarrassed and ashamed of his behavior" and conjured up the extortion angle to make himself look like a victim, TMZ said, citing court documents.
Jonathan claims he was simply in possession of a "newsworthy celebrity sex tape" and was trying to "lawfully and legally engage in the sale of information to news outlets."
Further, he is arguing that a search warrant was improperly authorized and claims law enforcement made up facts about the case to establish probable cause.
In fall 2017, Kevin was caught in the middle of a sex scandal after he allegedly cheated on his then-pregnant wife while in Las Vegas. The video purporting to show Kevin having sex was secretly recorded a few months prior in a hotel room. Prosecutors say Jonathan tried to get at least $5 million from Kevin in return for keeping the highly-produced video secret.
Rather than pay, the actor fessed up to cheating, saying he was "wrong."
"I made a bad error in judgement and put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did," he said in an Instagram apology. "At the end of the day, I gotta do better, but I'm also not going to allow a person to have financial gain off of my mistakes, and in this particular situation, that's what was attempted."
In May 2018, it was revealed that Kevin's alleged extorter was Jonathan, one of his close friends. TMZ said Kevin and Jonathan, who goes by JT, had been very close for 15 years. JT, an actor, was in "S.W.A.T." and Kevin's film "Think Like a Man Too."
"Mind blown … Hurt … at a loss for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW," Kevin tweeted on May 2 after learning the identity of his alleged extortionist.