Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty’s harassment and witness intimidation case just took another turn.
Jennifer Hough, whom Petty was convicted of sexually assaulting in 1995, recently requested a $20 million default judgment in her witness intimidation case against the couple after they failed to respond to her lawsuit. Hough’s attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, says he received an email Thursday night from attorney Judd Burstein on Minaj’s behalf—in which he requested that Blackburn withdraw the petition and grant an extension to respond.
“I said NO!” Blackburn told The Daily Beast in an email. “I told him to prepare his opposition to my request for default judgment and explain to the court why his client and her husband believe they’re both above the law.”
Petty was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in 1995 and denied the charges at the time. Hough, who was identified anonymously in the original case due to her age, shared her story with The Daily Beast in March using only her first name. She alleged that associates of the couple had begun pressuring her to recant her sexual-assault claims after Petty, who is married to Minaj, missed the deadline to register as a sex offender in the state of California.
Hough said she’d been forced to move three times out of fear for her safety, the final time to another state, after a series of attempted bribes and threats. It became impossible for her to know who to trust. She sued the Pettys in August for intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, and witness intimidation.
“I was never a fan of bullies,” Hough told The Daily Beast as she brought her lawsuit. “I taught my kids, you don’t be a bully and you don’t stand around and watch somebody be a bully. And I guess that’s how I feel in this situation.”
A month later Hough made her first television appearance on The Real, where she and Blackburn discussed her original attempted-rape case and its fallout, as well as the new charges. She tearfully described how she’d spent years blaming herself for the assault—“hiding within myself, living and surviving through insecurities, using them to protect myself. Thinking that if I don’t look a certain way, I won’t attract a certain type of attention. I’ve been like that my whole life.”
Now, however, things are different. As Hough said on The Real, “What they did to me and my family wasn’t OK... It doesn’t matter how much money you have. It doesn’t matter what your status is. You can’t intimidate people to make things better for you.”
Judd Burstein’s office did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment; representatives for Minaj and Petty did not respond to requests during our initial reporting.