Following word last week that the harassment case centered on Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty hit a stage of back-and-forth between involved parties over a default judgment push, more recent court documents provide greater insight into how Minaj’s team is responding.
Namely, Minaj—as detailed in court documents dated Oct. 15 and viewed by Complex—is arguing that the failure to respond to the complaint in question in a timely fashion was “not willful.” According to the documents, attorney Judd Burstein was recommended to Minaj on Sept. 22. One day later, the two had a conversation via Zoom that ended with what Minaj described as her believing he had agreed to represent her.
As you’ll recall, Tyrone Blackburn—attorney for Petty’s accuser Jennifer Hough—said in court documents last week (notably surrounding stories focused on a potential $20 million default judgment) that the time for Minaj and Petty to formally respond to the complaint had expired. Minaj and Petty, Blackburn added, have allegedly targeted Hough and her family with a campaign of “bribery, intimidation, harassment, and stalking” as part of an effort to get her to walk back sexual assault claims against Petty.
In 1994, Hough accused Petty of raping her. He was convicted the following year.
On Oct. 12, at least according to Minaj, she learned that her manager “had not understood” that she had approved Burstein to be her lawyer and thus he had not been formally retained. That evening, Minaj claims, she and Burstein spoke on the phone and sorted out the technicalities regarding his services.
“My failure to respond to the complaint 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 which plaintiff’s counsel has brought against me in an effort to use my name to generate publicity for himself,” Minaj is quoted as saying in the documents.
Elsewhere, Burstein describes Nicki as the “proverbial ‘deep pocket,’” and argues that his client should be able to pursue a motion to dismiss the complaint on multiple grounds.
Among the argued discrepancies are that Minaj has stated in a sworn declaration that a process server hasn’t been truthful, claiming that her husband was never served with a copy of the summons and complaint. The process server in question, Minaj claimed, is reported as having served such documents to a “Black male, 40 years old, 200 lbs.” with black hair and brown eyes.
“In fact, my husband is approximately 5’9’’ tall and weighs no more than 175 pounds,” Minaj is quoted as saying in the latest documents. “Further, there is no person who resides in our house or who was present there on September 15, 2021, who fits the description contained in the affidavit of service.” Burstein, among other things, is aiming for a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
Complex has reached out to Burstein’s office for additional comment.