Comedian Kevin Hart will be going to trial this fall after a California judge ruled a woman can sue him for allegedly recording the two of them having sex without her knowledge. The woman claims while sex with the Philadelphia native was consensual, the secret taping violated her civil rights.
On Friday, Aug. 19, Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Shirley K. Watkins denied a motion by lawyers for the box office titan that petitioned to have Montia Sabbag’s $60 million lawsuit dismissed. According to the plaintiff, Hart, who has an estimated net worth of $450 million, demonstrated extreme negligence and invaded her privacy when he not only recorded the two being intimate but using the video for commercial gain.
Attorneys for the 43-year-old argued there were no triable issues in her claim.
After hearing both parties’ sides of the arguments, the judge issued her ruling, siding with the plaintiff and permitting the lawsuit to go to trial.
The trial, which was refiled in Superior Court in April 2020 after a federal court dismissed the claim last year, has been rescheduled for Monday, Oct. 17.
According to the lawsuit, Hart knew their sexual encounter in August of 2017 was being recorded. The two were in his hotel room at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and he obtained the footage.
With the video, Sabbag alleges the Hollywood mogul used the publicity from the leak to further promote his “Irresponsible Tour.” She added that this helped get him cool points and was part of an uptick in his career.
At one point, Hart’s former friend, Jonathan “JT” Jackson was included in the complaint, also alleging negligence and invasion of privacy. Sabbag believed, according to her lawsuit, Hart allowed Jackson access to the comedian’s hotel room and the two conspired to record the intimate act.
Jackson, according to the Daily Mail, was cleared of these allegations in 2021. Hart also thought this was over after the first judge dismissed all of the charges. But Watkins saw something different than the first judge in the appeal.
Hart says he didn’t know, maintaining he was just as shocked as she was when the video emerged.
He said, “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.”
In a sworn declaration, Hart said he “did not conspire with anyone to record or videotape” the plaintiff.
In her own sworn declaration, Sabbag said Hart absolutely did know, and even moved or adjusted the mirror in the hotel bedroom to the right angle for the camera to capture them prior to the sexual encounter.
The judge believed this was a triable issue here. After reviewing testimony and evidence on both sides, the court will decide if Hart knew about the recording.