Nicki Minaj and her husband Kenneth “Zoo” Petty are being sued by Petty’s alleged rape victim. Jennifer Hough filed the suit on Friday (August 13)
In the lawsuit, Hough, who accused Petty of rape at the age of 16 in 1994, now accuses Nicki and her husband, a registered sex offender, of attempting to intimidate her into recanting her rape accusation. The lawsuit also accused the couple of intentional infliction of emotional distress and alleges sexual assault and battery, referring to the 1994 incident. The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages.
Hough alleges that both Petty and Nicki “directly and indirectly” intimidated and harassed and attempted to bribe her into recanting that Petty raped her. The arrest led Petty to spend time in prison and now requires him to register as a sex offender due to his conviction.
“As a direct result of the actions of Defendant Minaj and Defendant Petty, Plaintiff has been traumatized her entire life,” the suit read. “Plaintiff has never felt safe since being raped by Defendant.”
Hough received many harassing phone calls
The lawsuit says that Hough was offered $20,000 once in exchange for signing a prepared statement that would recant her rape accusation, that Minaj called her to speak about recanting her story and that she received many harassing calls and visits from people associated with the couple. Additionally, the suit describes how Hough’s brother was offered half a million dollars in exchange for her recantation by associates of the former American Idol judge and her husband.
In the lawsuit, Hough recounts the story of her sexual assault. She says she was on her way to school before she was approached by Petty who grabbed her and pressed a knife into her back, asking her to “start walking.” Petty then allegedly took her into a house at knifepoint as she was “fighting for her life to get this rapist off her.” Petty then allegedly caused a small cut on her stomach before Petty allegedly raped her.
“He stood in the mirror and beat on his chest stating, ‘I am the man. I am the man’ repeatedly,” the document read, before detailing that she escaped the house after Petty attempted to keep her inside against her will. Hough allegedly reported the rape to the police immediately. The lawsuit also describes that she was victim-blamed by her family and community.
Plaintiff could not believe that Defendant Minaj would go this far to bribe her
Years later, the lawsuit reads, once Nicki and Petty started dating in 2015, she began to discredit her story online, and say that Hough and Petty were “in a relationship” at the time of the rape, “but go awf internet.” The two were “never romantic in any way” before the alleged rape, according to the lawsuit.
After Nicki called the plaintiff, several of the couple’s associates told a family member of Hough’s that they would offer $500,000 for her to recant her story. “Plaintiff hung up, distraught that Defendant Minaj’s instructed her associates to contact her brother, and her brother would even relay such a message,” the lawsuit read, adding that in April 2020, Minaj allegedly sent Hough’s childhood friend, referred to as Black, to Hough to offer legal advice on how to recant her story and offer her $20,000.
“Black pulled out a green-colored folder that had a document inside. This document was a written recanted statement prepared for Plaintiff to sign. Black then pulls twenty thousand dollars out of the armrest and places it on the Plaintiff’s lap,” the lawsuit read. “Plaintiff took the money off her lap and placed it on the floor. Plaintiff could not believe that Defendant Minaj would go this far to bribe her.”
Nicki sat on the judges panel during the disasters American Idol season 12 in 2013. Nicki and fellow judge Mariah Carey bickered constantly on air. Both left the show after one season.