A judge has ruled that Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter can countersue a woman who has accused him of rape.
Accusations against Carter first arose last year, when a civil lawsuit was filed stating that the singer allegedly raped a 17-year-old fan on his tour bus in 2001.
The allegations were made by Shannon Ruth, now aged 43, who stated that Carter handed her a drink which she believes contained a mix of cranberry juice and alcohol, before attacking her on the tour bus.
She claimed that she encountered the singer when approaching him for an autograph after a Backstreet Boys show in Tacoma, Washington. She also stated that she remained quiet following the assault as she feared retaliation.
Carter has since denied all accusations made against him and filed a counter-suit against Ruth earlier this year.
The singer’s counterclaim alleged that Ruth was part of a conspiracy to defame and extort the singer, and that she was recruited by the family of another woman who accused Carter of sexual assault.
Ruth’s complaint also allegedly cost the band at least $2.35 million (£1.93million) between December and February due to the cancellation of promotional events, according to the counterclaim.
Following a hearing in Las Vegas on Wednesday (March 29), a judge ruled that the Backstreet Boys singer can pursue his countersuit against Ruth despite her lawyers arguing that the countersuit violated Nevada’s anti-SLAPP law – a statute designed to prevent lawsuits filed in an effort to stifle free speech, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Judge Nancy Allf denied that an anti-SLAPP motion was necessary and allowed Carter’s own case to go ahead.
The latest development comes after Carter previously claimed that a dozen witnesses can back him up against his ongoing accusations of sexual assault.
He reportedly said that the witnesses gathered were all present at the show, and include a talent manager, security personnel and fans.
For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.