A lawsuit for harassment against pop star Nicki Minaj is to be refiled according to the accuser’s lawyer.
Earlier this month, Minaj was dropped from a lawsuit originally filed against her and her husband Kenneth Petty for harassment.
Jennifer Hough accused Petty of sexual assault in 1994 and filed a lawsuit last year against Petty and Minaj, accusing them of “witness intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment” and other charges. She is also suing Petty for sexual assault and battery in relation to the 1995 conviction.
Hough alleged Petty raped her at knifepoint in 1994, when they were both 16 years old. Petty was charged with first-degree attempted rape the following year, and pleaded guilty to attempted rape.
He spent time in prison as a result but in March 2020, was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in California after moving from New York to the West Coast in 2019. These later charges were eventually dropped but federal charges were then brought, which resulted in Petty accepting a plea deal.
According to TMZ, the lawsuit filed by Hough against Minaj was voluntarily dismissed on Wednesday (January 12), though Petty remains a defendant. No reason was given for the dismissal.
Now, a lawyer for Hough has said the only reason the claims were dropped were because jurisdictional issues require Hough to move her claims against Minaj to a different state (via Rolling Stone).
Her lawyer, Steven N. Gordon, told a judge at a hearing yesterday (January 20): “We plan to refile it in a court with proper jurisdiction.”
In a statement after the hearing, Minaj’s attorney said the plan to refile the case in California was a “frivolous gambit” by Hough’s attorneys to avoid sanctions he had recently requested that the judge impose against them as punishment for filing a baseless lawsuit.
Judd Burstein said: “As usual, they have decided to adopt a tactic without bothering to research the law. Had they done so, they would realise that re-filing their frivolous action in another jurisdiction will only result in another court sanctioning them.”
Tyrone Blackburne, an attorney for Hough, also later confirmed the case would be refiled in California, but added it would be with “different causes of action” and potentially a new, unnamed defendant. He also responded to the statement from Burstein.
“If I were Ms. Maraj [Onika Maraj is Nicki Minaj’s real name] I would pay close attention to the bill she receives from her counsel,” Blackburne said.
“From the beginning of the lawsuit he has engaged in a billing exercise proposing to file a countless number of frivolous sanctions, none of which were filed, and none of which has any merit. I look forward to receiving this latest edition of her counsel’s billing exercise, carefully framed as a sanctions motion.”