Kevin Hart's lifelong friend was charged on Wednesday with attempting to extort the actor with a surreptitiously recorded video of the married comedian "with a woman," Los Angeles prosecutors said.
Jonathan Todd Jackson, 41, who is known publicly as "JT" and "Action Jackson," was charged with attempted extortion and extortion by threatening letter, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said in a statement. He is a professional bowler who enjoyed a bit part in a movie starring Hart.
Jackson is accused of seeking an undisclosed amount of money from Hart, 38, in August last year and of also trying to sell a video of Hart in Las Vegas with a woman to numerous celebrity news websites.
Hart has responded to the announcement of the man behind the alleged plot.
"Mind blown...Hurt...at a lost for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW," he tweeted.
Efforts to reach Jackson were unsuccessful.
Hart, the star of "Jumanji" and "Ride Along," was dogged by media reports last year that he had cheated on his wife and previous partners.
In September, the comedian released a video on his Instagram account saying he had made a "bad error in judgment" and would not "allow a person to have financial gain off of my mistakes." He issued a public apology to his wife, who was pregnant at the time, and promised to do better. He also said he felt like he had a target on his back.
On Wednesday, Hart uploaded a video of him to his Instagram story to urge his fans to keep their mental toughness together.
"Take it all in. Learn. Adjust."
If convicted on both charges, Jackson faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Jackson, who is credited for parts in Hart's "Think Like a Man Too" and stand-up special "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," has been a member of the Professional Bowlers Association for 12 years, according to its website.
Reuters contributed to this story.
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