Nicki Minaj’s motion for the court to sanction Jennifer Hough and her lawyers for dragging her into their legal wrangling involving her husband, Kenneth ‘Zoo’ Petty, has been rejected.
According to All Hip Hop, the court ruling released on Monday showed that the court declined to sanction Jennifer Hough and her attorney Tyrone Blackburn for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit naming her as a defendant and seeking a default judgment against her as well as for comments made by Blackburn that Minaj had a ‘reputation of supporting sex offenders’, as well as comments against her attorney claiming he overbilled her and he had a “sick obsession” with the wife of one of Hough’s lawyers.
Minaj and her husband Petty were sued in 2021 by Hough, who was reportedly raped by Petty when she was 15 years old and he was 16 years old. Petty had taken a plea deal and spent just a little over four years in jail. However, Hough sued the two in 2021, claiming they both harassed her and intimidated her into changing or recanting her statement.
The woman also claimed that Minaj’s agents tried to bribe her with half a million dollars to recant the statement, which may have helped his 2019 California case where he was reportedly facing 20 years in jail for failing to report himself as a sex offender after relocating to live with Minaj following their marriage.
Early last year, Hough’s lawyer dropped Minaj as a proper party to the claim, and Minaj’s lawyer Judd Burstein filed a motion seeking orders to sanction Blackburn for statements about Minaj, as well as Bustein.
Burstein had publicly blasted Blackburn as unprofessional for his behavior amid the lawsuit, which he labeled defamatory and tantamount to harassment as he claimed the rapper had links to a New York gang Makk Ballers, her lawyer, Burstein had cyberstalked the wife of one of Hough’s previous attorneys who stepped away from the matter, as well as other claims that Minaj supported rapists and he referenced a case involving her brother, things her lawyer said were all meant to tarnish Minaj’s reputation given the media attention the lawsuit generated.
Minaj’s filing wanted the court to award costs- $300,000 spent on legal fees to defend herself in the original filing. The court, however, did not find cause to grant Minaj’s request, but while that is a victory for Hough and Blackburn, the court seemingly addressed Blackburn’s comments as something it does not approve of.
“The court does not find [Hough’s] decision to pursue a motion for default judgment against [Maraj] sanctionable, notwithstanding [Maraj’s] claim that the motion lacked merit,” the ruling by Judge James R. Cho,” said.
He added, “[Hough] did not have an obligation to withdraw her motion for default judgment against Maraj simply because counsel for [Maraj] considered the motion ‘frivolous.'”
As for Blackburn, the ruling added that “Blackburn should not take the denial of the motion for sanctions as in any way endorsing his behaviour.”
It’s unclear if Minaj’s lawyer will take further action against Blackburn, which could come in the form of an ethics complaint to his Bar Association.
After Minaj was dropped from the lawsuit, which is still in progress, Burstein had harsh words for Blackburn, writing in his complaint, “Mr Blackburn’s conduct, in this case, has been disgraceful. He should be severely punished for it … so that, hopefully, other lawyers will understand that they have an obligation to their clients, the court, opposing counsel, and the legal profession itself not to pursue bad faith, frivolous, and indeed extortionate litigation in such a reprehensible manner.”
He added, “He is arrogantly and incomprehensibly contending that his conduct, in this case, was appropriate,” Burstein wrote. “He should not be permitted to walk away from this Court believing that he is free to victimize Ms Maraj a second time with the same baseless claims.”