Nicki Minaj and her husband are being sued by a woman he attempted to rape in 1994. Kenneth Petty was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in 1995 and remains a registered sex offender in California.
Jennifer Hough, now 43, is accusing both Minaj and Petty of witness intimidation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault and sexual harassment in a civil lawsuit filed in New York on Aug. 13 and obtained by E! News.
She says that in the years following her attempted rape, Minaj has used "her celebrity platform" to "bash" Hough. As an example, she alleges Minaj told a radio station in 2019 that Petty was "wrongly accused."
According to the lawsuit, Minaj publicly posted in 2018 to defend her husband, writing, "Kenny was 15, she was 16 and, in a relationship, but go awf Internet." Hough says she was "never" in a relationship with Petty and "simply knew him from the neighborhood," adding that the "Super Bass" rapper's claim is harassment.
Hough's lawsuit states that Petty violated his 1994 plea deal when he allegedly directly and indirectly "threatened" her while telling her "not to speak out" about the rape accusation. She alleges he also contacted her family to have them convince her not to speak out.
Hough additionally accuses Minaj of intimidating, threatening and harassing her to "recant her legitimate claim that Defendant Petty raped her." She says she has "never personally known" Minaj, who officially wed Petty in October 2019.
She says that Minaj called her in March 2020 to offer to fly her to Los Angeles or send her publicist to meet with Hough "to craft a statement recanting Plaintiff's rape charge." Hough says she denied the offers and told Minaj, "I need you to know woman to woman, that this happened."
According to the legal document, Hough's brother called a few days later to say that two people reached out to a family member, offering $500,000 from Minaj if Hough wrote a letter recanting her rape claim. Hough "hung up, distraught" that Minaj allegedly "instructed her associates" to contact her brother, per the suit.
Furthermore, Hough alleges the 10-time Grammy nominee tried to "bribe" her with $20,000 and offered to send "happy birthday videos to [Hough's] Daughter for her sweet 16 as a bonus."
"As a direct result of the actions of Defendant Minaj and Defendant Petty, [Hough] has been traumatized her entire life," the lawsuit reads. "Plaintiff has moved to multiple states to avoid intimidation and harassment by Defendant Minaj, Defendant, and their allies, legal teams, and fans."
Petty's lawyer Michael Goldstein declined to comment when contacted by E! News. E! News reached out to a rep for Minaj and hasn't heard back.
Hough has alleged Petty held her at knifepoint when they were teenagers in Queens, New York. He took her to a nearby house and "violently raped" her, the lawsuit alleges.
Kim Livingston, a spokeswoman with the Queens district attorney's office, told The New York Times that Petty was arrested the same day as the alleged attack. She says he was charged with first-degree rape and later pled guilty to attempted rape.
Hough says she has since become "paranoid" after receiving unsolicited calls, worried more associates would "show up" at her house. She says she experienced nightmares and anxiety, and after a man approached her daughter in October 2020, she became "afraid her child would be killed or kidnapped due to the threats" she alleges from the celebrities.
Jennifer Hough's attorney Tyrone Blackburn said in a statement to E! News that Hough "did the best she could" for many years to try "to move on with her life and away from the horrors of 1994." He says, "My client had no contact with, or any interest in coming after Mr. Petty or Ms. Minaj—they came after her. Now she fights back!"
Previously, Petty pled guilty to a case of first-degree manslaughter. Last year, he was indicted by a grand jury for failing to register as a sex offender when he moved from New York to Los Angeles. He pled not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond. E! News confirmed in March 2020 he had been registered in California.