Kevin Hart - Photo courtesy of DFree on Shutterstock

A lawsuit brought by a woman who alleges Kevin Hart secretly recorded them having consensual sex in 2017 and using the video for commercial reasons has been stayed until the plaintiff’s appeal of another portion of the case is decided.

On Wednesday, Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Shirley K. Watkins granted a motion by Montia Sabbag’s attorneys to put their client’s case on hold until a panel of the Second District Court of Appeal rules on whether Watkins acted correctly in dismissing all claims against Hart’s former co-defendant, Jonathan “JT” Jackson.

Sabbag has alleged Hart had allowed Jackson access to the comedian’s hotel room and that the two men conspired to record the sexual encounter.

Watkins vacated the scheduled Oct. 17 trial date and scheduled a status conference for next June 1.

In their court papers in support of the motion to stay the case, Sabbag’s lawyers stated that because Jackson will be called to testify in the case regardless of whether he is a defendant, it was important to stay the proceedings until it was determined whether he would be taking the stand as a party or a witness.

“Allowing this matter to be stayed pending the disposition eliminates this confusion to the jury,” according to the court papers of Sabbag’s lawyers, who also state that having to potentially go to trial a second time would be more costly and time consuming to both sides.

The parties have agreed to take part in mediation during the stay, according to Sabbag’s attorney’s court papers.

On Aug. 19, Watkins denied a motion by the 43-year-old Hart’s attorneys to dismiss plaintiff the part of Sabbag’s $60 million suit against the comedian. The complaint alleges negligence and invasion of privacy, but Hart’s lawyers maintained there were no triable issues.

But In a separate ruling, the judge dismissed all of Sabbag’s claims against Jackson, which included negligence and invasion of privacy.

In her suit refiled in Superior Court in April 2020 after it was dismissed in federal court, Sabbag alleges that Hart knew their intimate encounter in his hotel room at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in August 2017 was being recorded and that he used the publicity it generated to promote his “Irresponsible Tour” as well as to increase his overall pop culture status.

Jackson was originally charged with trying to extort money from Hart, but the criminal case was dismissed last fall.

Hart has maintained that he had no idea that there was a camera taping his encounter with Sabbag.

“I did not participate in any videotaping or recording of Sabbag, either while she and I were engaged in sexual relations or at any other time, nor do I know who did,” Hart said in a sworn declaration in which he also maintained he “did not conspire with anyone to record or videotape” the plaintiff.

But Watkins found that there is a triable issue as to whether defendant Hart knew there was a camera recording, based upon Sabbag’s own sworn declaration in which the plaintiff said the comedian moved or adjusted the mirror in his bedroom prior to the intimate encounter.

Sabbag said in her declaration that the sex tape appears to show that the recording device was placed in front of the bed in Hart’s bedroom and that it seemed to be reflecting off the same mirror Sabbag says she saw Hart move and adjust before their intimacy, the judge wrote.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *