A lawsuit filed against Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, alleges that the couple attempted to convince the woman who accused Petty of sexual assault in the 1990s to recant her account by harassing and intimidating her.
According to The New York Times, the suit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. In it, Jennifer Hough is seeking unspecified damages for the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” by Minaj and Petty, while also accusing Petty of sexual assault and battery related to the case from the mid-90s.
Petty was arrested in 1994 after Hough–who knew Petty from their neighborhood in Jamaica, Queens–said he held a knife to her back and raped her when they were teenagers, per the Times. He was initially charged with first-degree rape and served nearly five years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted rape.
From the Times:
The lawsuit says that an intermediary offered Ms. Hough $20,000 in exchange for signing a prepared statement recanting the accusation. At one point last year, the lawsuit says, Ms. Minaj called Ms. Hough, saying that she had heard Ms. Hough was willing to “help out”; days later, it says, Ms. Hough and her family members received an “onslaught of harassing calls and unsolicited visits” from people she believed to be associated with the couple.
Ms. Hough “has not worked since May of 2020 due to severe depression, paranoia, constant moving, harassment and threats from the defendants and their associates,” the lawsuit says. “She is currently living in isolation out of fear of retaliation.”
The Times reports that the lawsuit indicates that Hough never expressed interest in a bribe and was against recanting her statement.
More from the Times:
“If I lie now and say that I lied then, you know what that does?” she said. “Do you know what that’s going to say to my two little girls, or even my sons?”
The attempts to bribe Hough began after Petty was arrested by U.S. Marshals for failing to register as a sex offender in California last year, according to the Times. The lawsuit says that Hough has moved three times in one year due to her paranoia as a result of the threatening phone calls.
A representative for Minaj didn’t respond to the Times’ request for comment, while Petty’s lawyer declined to comment on the recently-filed suit.
Hough’s attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, provided the following statement to Rolling Stone:
“For many years my client did the best she could to move on with her life and away from the horrors of 1994. My client had no contact with, or any interest in coming after Mr. Petty or Ms. Minaj — they came after her. Now she fights back!”