Nicki Minaj did not default on harassment lawsuit, court finds

Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty are being sued for intimidation, harassment and other charges by a woman who alleged Petty sexually assaulted her in 1994

A judge has ruled that Nicki Minaj did not ignore a harassment lawsuit filed against her and husband Kenneth Petty.

In August, Jennifer Hough – who accused Petty of sexually assaulting her in 1994 – filed a lawsuit against Minaj and Petty, accusing them of “witness intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment” and other charges.

Since filing her lawsuit against Minaj and Petty, she has asked a court to find the couple in “default” and award her the $20million in damages that she is seeking.

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As Rolling Stone reports, on Tuesday (October 19), the federal clerk for the Eastern District of New York denied the request, writing that Minaj seemingly filed paperwork last week confirming she had found legal representation for the case. Petty, however, “has not filed an answer or otherwise moved with respect to the complaint”, and Hough’s lawyer confirmed to Rolling Stone they would be proceeding with the complaint against Petty.

According to a statement Minaj provided on October 15, the rapper believed she had hired an attorney in late September, but that a series of “innocent miscommunications” led to a delay in payment of the lawyer’s retainer. She categorised her failure to respond to Hough’s complaint as “the product of an innocent mistake”. Her lawyer, Judd Burstein, confirmed Minaj’s story was accurate in his own statement.

Hough alleged that 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 about four and a half years in prison as a result.

Last year, Petty was arrested in Los Angeles for failing to register as a sex offender, as required by his sentence. These later charges were eventually dropped but federal charges were brought, which resulted in Petty accepting a plea deal. He is scheduled for sentencing in January 2022.

Hough alleged that in 2020, shortly after Petty’s arrest, Minaj called her and offered to fly her and her family to Los Angeles, or Minaj’s publicist out to Hough. Hough said she declined and claims that within days, she and her family “suffered an onslaught of harassing calls and unsolicited visits”, including various offers of payment if she signed a statement recanting her original allegations against Petty.

Last month, giving her first on-camera interview about the alleged harassment, Hough repeated her claims that Minaj had offered to fly her and her family to Los Angeles to “help them out in a situation”, which she declined. “I told her, woman-to-woman, this really happened,” Hough said.

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Hough went to allege that when she refused an offer of $20,000 to recant her allegations that Petty raped her, it was implied that the money would turn into a bounty. “The last message I received was that I should have taken the money, because they’re going to use that money to put on my head,” she said.

Minaj and Petty have yet to publicly comment on the harassment lawsuit and Hough’s allegations.

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