Nicki Minaj’s Husband’s Rape Accuser Submits Evidence From 1994 Trial
Jennifer Hough’s legal team has obtained court records from her 1994 rape case —including photos, medical exam results, and a transcript of Kenneth Petty’s guilty plea.
Nicki Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, has yet to settle the sexual assault lawsuit that Jennifer Hough brought against him in 2021. Now, Hough’s legal team has submitted new evidence from her original 1994 case with the Queens County Supreme Court—in which Petty ultimately pleaded guilty to attempted rape in the first degree.
In a letter to the court filed Friday, Hough’s attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, writes that the plaintiff initially requested the 1994 court records at the start of her litigation, but that “due to the age of the requested records, the Queens District Attorney’s Office took a long time to retrieve, review, redact, and produce the records.”
The 1994 incident occurred when both Petty and Hough were 16 years old. The newly submitted exhibits include photographs of injuries to a young Hough’s face, neck, and sides, as well as a police laboratory analysis report stating that Hough’s underwear and two vaginal smears “were positive for the presence of spermatozoa.” The report further states that a pair of “checker shorts” collected from Petty on the day of the alleged assault “were positive for the presence of spermatozoa.”
“These are things that in a normal context would be ‘he said, she said,’” Blackburn told The Daily Beast. “Now you have the photos to prove it. And she made these statements without the benefit of having these documents to revert back to—so clearly, her trauma is very real.”
Petty’s attorney Steven David Isser did not respond to The Daily Beast’s emailed request for comment; when reached by phone, he declined to comment.
When asked what she hopes to demonstrate with these new documents, Hough told The Daily Beast that she “just wanted to show proof that I didn’t lie on this man. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. When it happened, I went to the police. I went to the hospital. I had a rape kit done.”
According to New York State’s sex offender registry, Petty was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree in 1995 for a crime that occurred on Sept. 16, 1994. It was on that date that Hough’s 2021 complaint alleges that Petty sexually assaulted her at knifepoint in his bedroom. Eventually, Hough alleges, she was able to escape by throwing a bottle of contact solution at Petty’s head.
At the time, Hough said, she did not have any adults in her family to advise her or to accompany her to the hospital after the alleged assault. (Back in 2021, a childhood friend of Hough’s confirmed to The Daily Beast that they’d picked up Hough from the hospital.) “I had no kind of guidance at all in my corner,” Hough said. “So I went through that by myself.”
Hough first spoke out against Petty in a YouTube video posted in November 2020. Her lawsuit against Petty, filed in August 2021, alleged that third parties connected to Petty had begun pressuring her to recant her story through bribes and threats.
In a declaration filed on Nov. 22, 2021, Petty claimed that the 1994 encounter between himself and Hough was consensual. “I did not force Plaintiff into a house, I did not force Plaintiff to have sex with me and I did not sexually or physically assault Plaintiff in any way. Nor did I ever threaten Plaintiff,” the filing reads. “I pled guilty to attempted rape, despite my innocence, because I was a scared 16 year old kid and was told that my sentence would be 20 years to life if I did not plead guilty to attempted rape.”
Petty’s declaration also denies that he ever harassed Hough, directly or indirectly, or asked others to do so.
According to a status report Blackburn filed to the court at the end of May, Hough and Petty were unable to settle during private mediation. The case has now entered discovery with a fact-finding deadline set for Dec. 12, according to the case’s docket report. An in-person status conference is set for Sept. 27.
The newly submitted records include a complaint report dated Sept. 16, 1994—the day Hough alleges that Petty assaulted her before she ran to school to report the crime. The report states that Hough was “walking to school” before the incident occurred and adds that Petty “put a blunt object into her back and told her ‘keep walking.’”
After hearing a clicking noise, the report states, Hough assumed the “object was a gun and complied.” After the alleged assault, the report notes that Hough said she “struck perp with plastic bottle,” causing him to fall—at which point she fled.
The newly submitted documents include photographs of both a large bottle of contact solution and a long knife—the latter of which tested negative for blood, according to the same police laboratory analysis report that found sperm on boxer shorts collected from Petty.
Blackburn told The Daily Beast that until the Queens District Attorney’s Office recently handed over the documents, Hough did not have any records from her original case.
“All she had was her lived experience,” Blackburn said. “… And her lived experience is corroborated by the evidence from 1994—the evidence that was taken the day of the incident. Not a week later. Not two days later, not a day later.”
When asked what it’s like to see all of these old documents now, Hough replied that the photos hit her the hardest. “It just brought back what it was like to be me at that time—and it was a pretty scary time,” she said.
“When I look at this stuff—when I have to talk about this stuff—it feels like I’m back in it,” Hough added. “It feels like I’m in a tornado and I’m trying to get out of it, and my leg just keeps getting stuck.”
Among the newly submitted documents is an arrest worksheet that states Petty was charged with rape, unlawful imprisonment, and criminal possession of a weapon on Sept. 16, 1994. An intake bureau record states that during the alleged assault, Hough claimed Petty pulled at her clothes, pinched at her sides, and choked her. The record notes “visible bruises”—presumably those shown in the photographs of a 16-year-old Hough, also dated Sept. 16, 1994.
After hitting Petty with a bottle and escaping, the intake bureau record states that Hough said she went to her school. Police recovered a large knife, a bottle of contact lens cleaner, bed sheets, and clothing from Petty’s home, where the incident allegedly took place.
An indictment with the handwritten date Sept. 21, 1994 lists five counts against Petty: rape in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, assault in the second degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
According to Hough, Petty and his camp aren’t budging—largely because of a typewritten letter from the 1994 case that she insists she did not write. The Daily Beast has reviewed the notarized letter, which states that while Petty did not rape Hough, he allegedly refused to let her leave his home until she had sex with him—even after she’d said no.
Hough can’t remember who typed the letter or how it came about, and she denies ever writing it. “It was something that I was forced to sign,” she said. “It’s not recanting what happened—it’s basically trying to say, in a nice way, he wouldn’t let me leave unless I had sex with him. So I had sex with him so I can leave.”
The letter states that Hough “would like to drop the charges against Kenneth Petty” and claims that the bruises photographed on Hough’s neck were “hickies that I got the day before from someone else.” While Hough has repeatedly insisted that she and Petty were never in a relationship, the letter states that she used to “go out with him.”
According to the letter, Hough accompanied Petty voluntarily to his home, where they allegedly began making out. But then, the letter states, they got into an argument that turned physical.
“I told him I wanted to leave, but he wouldn’t let me, because he said I was too upset,” the letter states. “He asked to make love with me again. I said no.” Eventually, the letter states, Petty “told me if I would have sex with him, I can leave. So I did, because I was already late for school, and I just wanted to leave.”
At school, the letter continues, a friend told Hough to “go to the office and tell them I was raped, because even if I had sex with him the first time I didn’t want to have sex the second time.”
The Daily Beast has reviewed video footage of Petty’s police interrogation, which took place on Sept. 16, 1994. At the time, Petty claimed that although he saw Hough that morning, they only encountered each other in passing. He told police he had not had sex with Hough or anyone else that day. Court records indicate that the boxers he turned over to police tested positive for spermatozoa.
During a hearing on April 5, 1995, a court transcript reviewed by The Daily Beast indicates that Petty withdrew his “not guilty” plea and instead pleaded “guilty” to the charge of attempted rape.
Before the alleged threats against her, Hough said, “I didn’t feel the need to prove who [Petty] was—what kind of person he was.” She insists that she did not come forward for clout, but out of fear for her life due to the alleged threats she’d received for months after Petty’s arrest in March 2020 for failing to register as a sex offender in the state of California.
Hough alleged that she was forced to move three times before she posted her initial YouTube video claiming that she had endured a harrowing experience. Her final move allegedly pushed her to a different state, separating her from her 22-year-old daughter.
Hough said that at the time, she’d chosen to return to an abusive former partner, whose residence she has since left; she said she’d hoped that his controlling behavior would offer her some protection.
As she described her reasoning, Hough’s voice began to quiver. “I went to stay with him because I thought because of how controlling he was, that nobody would be able—oh my god… that nobody would be able to get to me with him,” she said.
Hough added that she “wound up putting myself in more danger being there” with her ex. “But I put the video out in case something happened to me.”
At this point, Hough said, she feels as though this ordeal will never really be over because her name seems inextricably linked with Petty’s. “For me, it’s been hell,” she said of the past few years. “When I was 16, nobody believed me. ... And now it feels the same. It feels like I’m fighting for my character.”
In bringing these new documents, Hough said, she hopes that those who still support Petty will see that “he did what he did.”
“The reason why he has to register is because he’s guilty,” Hough said. “You don’t get to bully people into doing what you want them to do so you can look good.”