At the beginning of this year, Jennifer Hough voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit against Nicki Minaj which she later refiled in California. However, the default judgment motion has Minaj demanding for Hough’s lawyer to be “severely punished,” Uproxx reports.
Hough claimed Minaj’s husband, Kenneth Petty, raped her decades earlier and that the couple harassed and intimidated her not to speak out about it. Minaj and Petty have denied the accusations claiming that Hough was trying to get money from them.
Now, Minaj and her lawyer Judd Burstein are seeking fees and a referral to the federal court’s Attorney Disciplinary Committee against Hough’s lawyer, Tyrone Blackburn.
“Mr. Blackburn’s conduct in this case has been disgraceful,” Burstein wrote in a Monday filing per Billboard. “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.”
In a statement to Billboard on Tuesday (April 12), Blackburn strongly refuted the allegations, calling Burstein’s request for sanctions “baseless.”
In the new filing, Burstein said the opposing lawyer falsely claimed in legal documents that Minaj (whose legal name is Onika Tanya Maraj), was a member of Queens street gang called the Makk Ballers.
“Given that Mr. Blackburn had no evidence in his possession that would have remotely supported even an inference that Ms. Maraj belonged to the gang, and the allegation was entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether a default judgment should be entered against Mr. Petty,” the motion reads, according to documents obtained by Rolling Stone. “Mr. Blackburn surely acted in a bad faith effort to generate extremely negative media coverage about Ms. Maraj which also depicted Mr. Blackburn as a lawyer who was seeking to bring her to justice.”
“No lawyer should be permitted to walk away unscathed after making an allegation of this kind – especially because Mr. Blackburn knew that it would find its way into the public domain due to the media and other attention paid to the docket in this case,” Burstein wrote.
As for punishment, Minaj and Burstein are seeking a ruling that forces Blackburn to “repay legal bills incurred defending the case, as well as an order referring him to the court’s disciplinary committee for potential additional punishment,” Billboard reports.