Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Nicki Minaj no longer faces a civil lawsuit filed by her husband’s longtime rape accuser, a Brooklyn federal court filing revealed Wednesday. Jennifer Hough sued the rapper and her husband, Kenneth Petty, on August 13.
However, Hough has not dropped her civil claims against Petty. “The case was voluntarily withdrawn in New York against Onika Tanya Maraj, but the case against Kenneth Petty is still ongoing,” Hough’s attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, told Vulture. When asked for comment, Minaj’s attorney, Judd Burstein, said: “What they tried to do to Nicki was disgraceful. They finally realized that they had to surrender without Nicki paying a penny. And now, Nicki and I are going to make them pay for this in the courts.”
“We have the right, under the law, to seek what are known as sanctions, which would require them to pay Nicki’s legal fees — which are substantial,” he said.
Petty was found guilty of attempted rape for attacking Hough in 1994. (Although Petty was convicted of attempted rape, Hough alleges he raped her.) Hough had claimed in the lawsuit that Minaj “directly and indirectly harassed plaintiff to recant her legitimate claim that Petty raped her,” and she also contended that Minaj indirectly or directly “attempted to intimidate” and “indirectly threatened” her. Hough’s lawsuit also noted Minaj’s repeated claims that her husband was “wrongly accused.”
Hough’s ongoing legal claims against Petty include intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, sexual assault, and harassment. Hough was able to sue Petty because of the Child Victims Act. This New York law “initially opened a one-year window for survivors to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered as children,” the Democrat & Chronicle said. Several months ago, Minaj and Petty found themselves in still more legal hot water after failing to respond to Hough’s harassment lawsuit. In court papers, Minaj claimed her silence stemmed from a “series of innocent miscommunications” with her lawyers.
Minaj had claimed that neither she nor Petty was actually “served” with the lawsuit, meaning they did not get official notice of it. Minaj also said she began looking for a lawyer after learning of the lawsuit. After initially meeting with her now-lawyer, Burstein, on September 23, Minaj’s manager “had not understood” that she wanted Burstein to represent her, so Burstein wasn’t actually hired as her lawyer. That “misunderstanding was cleared up” on October 12, Minaj said in a court filing. “My failure to respond to the complaint was the product of an innocent mistake, and I ask the Court to excuse the delay so that I can defend what I believe to be an entirely frivolous case which plaintiff’s counsel has brought against me in an effort to use my name to generate publicity for himself,” Minaj said.