A federal court clerk ruled Tuesday that Nicki Minaj and her husband, Kenneth Petty, will not face a multi-million dollar fine for failing to respond to a lawsuit claiming they harassed and tried to bribe the woman who accused Petty of rape.
Jennifer Hough had asked the court to find the couple in “default” and award her $20 million for not responding. As previously reported, Hough’s lawsuit accuses the couple of “witness intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, harassment, assault, battery, sexual assault and sexual harassment.”
The federal clerk for the Eastern District of New York denied the default request, writing that “it appears” that the "Motorsport" rapper filed paperwork last week saying she finally hired a lawyer to defend her, as reported by Rolling Stone. The clerk added that Petty “has not filed an answer or otherwise moved with respect to the complaint.”
Minaj stated in a court declaration that her failure to promptly respond to the lawsuit was the result of “innocent miscommunications” with her lawyer that led to a delay in paying a retainer fee.
She wrote it "was the product of an innocent mistake, and I ask the court to excuse the delay so that I can defend what I believe to be an entirely frivolous case."
Hough’s lawyer, Tyrone Blackburn, says he still plans to pursue a default motion against Petty for $20 million.
Petty was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in the case in April 1995 and sentenced to 18 to 54 months in prison. In January 2020, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for failing to register as a sex offender when he moved to Los Angeles. In August, he plead guilty to the charge. His sentencing is set for January 24, 2022.