Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, were accused in a lawsuit on Friday of intimidating a woman who says Petty sexually assaulted her in 1994, and of trying to bribe the woman to recant her story.
Jennifer Hough filed the suit in federal court in Brooklyn. She alleges that Minaj and her associates have repeatedly reached out to her and to her family, trying to get her to issue a statement denying that the sexual assault occurred. She also states that one associate came to her house and offered her $20,000 to sign a document recanting the allegation, and offered to have Minaj send a “happy birthday” video to her daughter.
The suit also seeks to hold Petty accountable for the 1994 sexual assault, using the New York State Child Victims Act. The act, signed into law in 2019, opened a two-year “lookback window” allowing victims of child sex abuse to file lawsuits that otherwise would fall outside the statute of limitations. The deadline to file such lawsuits is Saturday, and the New York courts have been flooded with such claims in recent days.
According to the suit, Hough was 16 years old when she encountered Petty at a bus stop in Queens, N.Y. She alleges that he accosted her with a knife, and led her to a nearby house, where he forcibly raped her, according to the suit. Petty, who was also 16, was quickly arrested and charged, and later accepted a plea deal to a count of attempted rape.
The case resurfaced in 2018, when Petty began dating Minaj, a global superstar. After posting a photo of herself with Petty, Minaj responded to comments about his past conviction: ““Kenny was 15, she was 16 and, in a relationship, but go awf Internet.”
In a subsequent radio appearance, Minaj claimed that Petty was “falsely accused” and falsely stated that Hough had “written a letter recanting her statement.”
In March 2020, Minaj called Hough and offered to fly her to Los Angeles, according to the suit. She also offered to send her publicist to meet Hough and craft a statement recanting the rape charge, the suit alleges. Hough declined, and told Minaj: “I need you to know woman to woman, that this happened.”
However, she alleges other intermediaries continued to contact her, including an attorney who offered legal advice on how to recant her statement. She alleges that she was repeatedly contacted over the ensuing months, and felt harassed and threatened. She moved three times in the space of a few months, and changed her phone number, according to the suit.
According to the complaint, she has not worked in more than a year, and is suffering from depression and paranoia. The suit accuses Petty of sexual assault, and Petty and Minaj of witness intimidation and harassment.