Rapper Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, are facing a lawsuit from Jennifer Hough, who accused Petty of attempted rape in 1994. Petty was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in 1995 and registered as a sex offender in California in March 2020. Minaj and Petty, who were childhood friends, married in October 2019.
Hough, 43, is accusing Minaj, 38, and Petty, 43, of witness intimidation and negligent infliction of emotional distress in a civil lawsuit filed in New York on Aug, 13, reports E! News. Hough also accused the couple of harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. She accused Minaj of using her “celebrity platform” to publicly criticize Hough.
In the lawsuit, Hough cited specific examples of comments the “Megatron” rapper has made in interviews and social media. in 2019, Minaj told a radio station Petty was “wrongly accused,” Hough noted. She also cited a 2018 comment from Minaj. “He was 15, she was 16 … in a relationship. But go awf, internet. y’all can’t run my life. Y’all can’t even run y’all own life. Thank you boo,” Minaj wrote at the time. Hough said she was “never” in a relationship with Petty and only knew him from their neighborhood. She called Minaj’s 2018 comment harassment.
Hough also accused Petty of breaking the 1994 plea deal by directly and indirectly threatening her when he told her “not to speak out” about the rape allegation. She also accused Petty of contacting her family, hoping they would convince her to not speak out. Hough claims Minaj intimidated and harassed her to “recant her legitimate claim that Defendant Petty raped her.” She claims Minaj offered her to fly to Los Angeles in 2020 to speak with the rapper’s publicist about writing a statement “recanting” her rape allegation. Hough turned down the offer, but she claims her brother said two people offered $500,000 from Minaj if she recanted her allegation in a letter. Hough claims Minaj also attempted to “bribe” her with $20,000 and would send “happy birthday videos” to Hough’s daughter for her 16th birthday as a “bonus.”
“As a direct result of the actions of Defendant Minaj and Defendant Petty, [Hough] has been traumatized her entire life,” according to the lawsuit. “Plaintiff has moved to multiple states to avoid intimidation and harassment by Defendant Minaj, Defendant, and their allies, legal teams, and fans.” Hough is seeking unspecified damages. Hough has not worked since May 2020 due to “severe depression, paranoia, constant moving, harassment and threats from the defendants and their associates,” the lawsuit reads. Hough is now living in “isolation out of fear of retribution.”
In 1994, Hough told police Petty led her into a home at knifepoint and raped her, according to the lawsuit. They were both 16 at the time. Petty was arrested the same day and charged with first-degree rape. He pleaded guilty to attempted rape, Queens district attorney’s office spokeswoman Kim Livingston told the New York Times. Petty served four and a half months in prison. Petty’s lawyer, Michael Goldstein, declined to comment on the lawsuit when the New York Times contacted him. Minaj’s representative has also not commented.
Petty also faced first-degree manslaughter charges and pleaded guilty. He served a seven-year sentence for the charge and was released in 2013, according to TMZ. After he moved from New York to Los Angeles, a grand jury indicted Petty for failing to register as a sex offender. In March 2020, he was added to California’s Megan’s Law database as a sex offender.