Nicki Minaj’s legal team is making good on their previous statements that they want an opposing attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, to be sanctioned for his comments in an ongoing case brought by Jennifer Hough.
In a new lawsuit, Nicki Minaj and her lawyer Judd Burstein say the attorney’s behavior in the case was “reprehensible” and “disgraceful,” and they want a judge to order sanctions against him.
Nicki Minaj was sued last August by Jennifer Hough, who brought a harassment suit against the rapper and her husband, Kenneth Petty. In that lawsuit, Hough claimed that decades after Petty raped her, he and Minaj were allegedly intimidating and harassing her to recant her claim that he had raped her because he needed his conviction vacated to escape charges for failing to report as a sex offender in California in 2019.
Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty’s defense denied the allegations and accused Hough of trying to extort them for 20 million dollars which her lawsuit demanded as damages.
In January this year, Nicki Minaj was dropped from the case, but the attorney for Hough had offered remarks for why she was dropped, which included comments that she was a sympathizer with rapists, a reference to her brother who was previously involved in a rape case.
Minaj’s attorney had previously chided Blackburn for involving Minaj in the lawsuit, knowing she was not a proper party, only to drop her from the case later and cause damage to her reputation to fans and the public.
Burstein, in a stern email, had warned he was going to seek sanctions against Blackburn, who also fired back at the attorney, hinting that Burtstein might of over-billing Nicki Minaj by filing frivolous claims.
Burstein’s filing on Monday makes good on his warning to the young attorney.
“Mr Blackburn’s conduct in this case has been disgraceful,” Burstein wrote in legal docs shared by 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.”
Burstein’s email to Blackburn was leaked to the press in January after she was dropped from the case where the lawyer said that Blackburn’s lawsuit had cost Minaj $300,000 in legal bills, which could have been avoided since he knew she couldn’t be sued in the case. In addressing the media, Blackburn’s former co-counsel Gordon who is also named in the filing, had said there were plans to re-file the case against her in California, but this has not been done.
According to Burstein, that statement by Blackburn is aimed at victimizing Minaj.
“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.”
Among the other statements by Blackburn that Burstein has outlined in the latest filing are his false claims that she was a member of a Queens street gang called the ‘Makk Ballers’, which he said was made in a “bad faith effort to generate extremely negative media coverage.”
Another addresses claims made against Burstein where Blackburn said he had a “sick obsession” with the wife of Hough’s former attorneys, Steven Gordon.
He said Blackburn’s statement was “outrageous” and “designed solely to harass and tarnish” his reputation.
“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.
He also addressed Blackburn’s statement that Minaj was sympathetic to rapists, referring to her brother, Jelani Maraj, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2020 after beng convicted of predatory sexual assault and child endangerment in 2017.
“Upon information and belief, [Nicki Minaj] has a reputation of supporting sex offenders,” and that she “orchestrated a public relations campaign attempting to discredit the 11-year-old female victim” in her brother’s case.
“Mr Blackburn surely included this outrageous accusation knowing that the media will likely report on the lie, thereby creating the very reputation which he had no basis for alleging in the first place,” Burstein said.
Burstein is asking the court to rule against Blackburn by making him pay legal bills incurred defending the case and grant an order referring him to the court’s disciplinary committee for additional sanctions.
In the meantime, Blackburn also filed a response on Monday stating that he had evidence supporting the claims about Makk Ballers and Gordon, and he made further allegations, among which is that Hough was bullied by Minaj and Petty and their “allies, legal teams, and fans.”